By Cat Wyatt
Suicide Squad #35 brings the walls down around our characters heads, as well as a blast from the past. It’s a Waller heavy episode (aren’t all of the doom and gloom ones about her though?) so the fans out there that don’t like her may not be happy with this issue, but then again, if seeing Waller get outmaneuvered is something you’ve been daydreaming about…read on.
The issue starts out a bit different than normal; with an announcement being made (I believe by the president) about a new task force that’s been formed to protect civilians. The team is full to the brim of super soldiers, and their secret code-name is the Wall (though why it’s considered a secret is beyond me – they literally just announced it to anybody listening to the broadcast). The one guy we see from the team is decked out in a set of Patriotic armor. It’s both cool and a little lame (since it’s been done so many times before).
Apparently the Wall is a huge threat to Task Force X, and they’re likely moving to replace them. Which makes sense – not only would trained soldiers be more reliable than criminals being forced into work, but they’re also a smarter PR move. They can’t exactly broadcast the successes of the Suicide Squad, can they?
Using the code-name ‘the Wall’ could be a coincidence, or it could be a personal dig at Waller. Personally, I’m voting for the latter. There are certainly better sounding code-names they could have come up with, which means that there’s meaning, something personal, behind this one. Sure it could be that these guys are ‘the Wall’ around America, which would admittedly make it oddly relevant at the moment…but I doubt it.
Pull Rick Flag to run the Wall pretty much proves that this is a personal move against Waller. Ever since they introduced Flag back in the day, when he was being held in prison and Waller ‘freed’ him, I was suspicious about the circumstances that led him to being in that situation. It seems like I wasn’t the only one, and frankly I agree with Flag’s reasoning. So it’s easy to understand why he’d want to jump ship the moment he had the chance. Giving him an opportunity to avoid Harley (his shiny new ex) was just a bonus.
Here’s where I find myself a little confused. Waller mentioned blackmailing Flag into forcing him to stay; talking shit about him and how sleeping with inmates is not exactly a gold star in his record. But I don’t think the blackmail worked? That or she didn’t want to actually force the issue. Either way, I think Rick Flag has officially left the team, but I’m not one hundred percent on that.
While this lovely little chat has been occurring, the Suicide Squad (Harley, Katana, Deadshot, and Boomerang) has been fighting Damage, and it isn’t going well. They even have additional help, like Giganta and Solomon Grundy (not really sure how they arranged that) and they’re still getting their asses handed to them. If this had been a team formed by anyone else, by volunteers, I have no doubt that backup would have been sent in. But it’s the Suicide Squad, and it’s run by Waller, so that’s pretty much that (for now at least).
While Waller is walking through the prison (to get input from Faraday), I can’t help but notice she walked by Killer Croc’s cell. He’s happily (and messily) eating a corpse. I’m more than a little worried it’s that poor bastard we saw in the last issue. I hope not, for his sake (though I don’t think the continuity lines up? Croc was cognizant during that plot, where he clearly isn’t now).
I don’t think we really needed more reminders about how much Waller fails as a human being, but apparently the writer’s disagree. Seeing Waller forget (but still miraculously be on time for) her grandchild’s birth was a little much, even for me. She actually had to put a calendar reminder in for it, and she still showed up days late. Seriously? I know she’s estranged from the lot of them (as evidenced by the fact that her daughter doesn’t want to see her), but still. Make a point of putting some effort into your family woman.
I suspect the real purpose of Waller suddenly having a grandchild was so the writers could force her out of Belle Reve long enough for shit to hit the fan. A certainly somebody you may or may not remember is actually alive, and happily destroying all the systems (and people) inside. This isn’t exactly the first time this has happened, so I can’t pretend I’m surprised (seriously, how many critical failures has that place had in the last year?)
This wasn’t the worst Suicide Squad issue I’ve read, but it also wasn’t the strongest. I know they’re more or less using this issue to set up a new plotline, but they threw too much at us too fast. The result was leaving some of the shorter term plots incomplete (like what happened to Katana and the gang). The whole thing just felt rushed and ill paced.
Despite the plot, the artwork was pretty decent. Croc looked absolutely feral (which is more true than not), and Hack looked pretty fantastic. I love how they integrated part of her body with the electricity. It’s effective, to say the least. My one complaint is how they drew Harley – she seemed a little too chipper and cutesy, especially considering the fight they were in (I know Harley can enjoy crazy fights, but there’s a line even for her).
Suicide Squad #35