By Cat Wyatt
The first two panels of issue 32 are really sweet, but also a complete change of pace. It’s a cute little scene with June (Enchantress) teaching Waylon (Killer Croc) how to read. Considering the events that have been happening in Suicide Squad lately, it seems oddly out of place (though I did love that little moment there). This leads me to be very concerned about Waylon’s state by the end of this issue (have to keep reminding myself about the lack of permanency in comic deaths).
Back in the present, we have Karin racing towards the sun with a trapped Red Wave, while the Suicide Squad team (under orders from Rick) are rushing in to try and save her, among other things. The catch is they need Karin to close the moon vault first and foremost. If she doesn’t everything locked in there could get free again, which would be beyond disastrous. Up until this point, I don’t think Rick or the rest of the team knew of Karin’s plan to fly into the sun, but once Rick heard about it…well, let’s just say he’s pretty determined to keep his promise.
It’s interesting how little time was spent celebrating Rick Flag’s return. Now, this could merely be because of the complete lack of time (because of all the life-ending events occurring), or it could be that the team subconsciously knew that Rick wouldn’t hesitate to order them to risk their lives…again. Yes, we all understand the concept of Suicide Squad, but considering Rick actively works with them on a daily basis, I can see how some of them would come to expect him to consider them equals, instead of lesser beings (because let’s be honest here, everyone in control of Suicide Squad has always considered them less than human, considered them to be disposable).
So it was pretty disappointing to see Rick order the team to hop out of the ship, fight a monster, and save Karin, all while being dangerously close to the sun. To his credit (I think?) he tried to make Harley hang back, so he himself could go with the team. The problem is, Harley doesn’t see things the way he does. He thinks he’s protecting her (or more accurately, protecting himself from losing her) by ordering her to stay inside. She thinks he’s already lost her. And frankly, considering the actions and orders placed here, I really don’t blame her for feeling that way. I know this was a kind of intense and sad moment, but I was really happy to see how well they handled Harley’s character here. She’s never lied to herself about who she is, and therefor isn’t ashamed to admit that she’s on the same level as the rest of Suicide Squad. So to her, anybody that thinks less of them also thinks less of her. And the Harley I know and love would never stand for any of that.
The half of the Suicide Squad on Earth are still with Faraday at this point, and while they’ve lost contact with Karin, they have a pretty good idea of what is going on (though I don’t think they know of the rescue mission that’s been launched). I’m pretty sure the point of showing us the Earth team was to a.) show us how far Faraday is willing to go (he’s ok with himself and Karin dying), and b.) show June/Enchantress freak out about Killer Croc getting hurt (she thinks he’s going to die). This was probably either to warn us of Croc’s death, or just an attempt to further increase the tension.
That’s why it ended up being Harley, Katana, Boomerang, and Killer Croc on the outside fighting, while Rick piloted the ship. To say this fight didn’t go well is putting it mildly. The proximity to the sun had a heavy toll, as the suits were not even remotely designed to protect them at this range. I think Waylon took the brunt of it, or perhaps he’s the most sensitive to the heat (actually, that sounds more accurate), but the poor bastard got it pretty good. At least I now know that little hint at the beginning of the issue wasn’t in vain.
If I’m being honest, I’m feeling pretty conflicted about the ending of this issue (and possibly the plot?). For one thing, it feels like there’s more wrapping up to be done, but I’m not really expecting more (and certainly no good news). Killer Croc is pretty badly injured, and we don’t yet know what sort of mental toll those injuries will take out of him. That concerns me greatly, as I really like the relationship they’ve been building between him and June. Speaking of relationships, I think it’s pretty safe to say the one between Harley and Rick is all sorts of done. I think I would have been happier had they left it at the conversation on the spaceship, as the second one they had left me frustrated (Rick refuses to take any of the blame, and in doing so dumps it all on Harley). Perhaps that’s my bias showing, hard to say.
The artwork was pretty decent for this issue. I like the way the artist showed the Red Wave’s current and lingering effects in Faraday and Karin. I still don’t love the spacesuit design, though it was less “in your face” this time at least. The close ups (specifically on Waller, Karin, and Rick) were pretty spectacular, as was the design of the Red Wave.
Suicide Squad #32
Publisher: DC Comics