In his much-anticipated return to the team he made famous, John Ostrander pens the tale of the Suicide Squads' latest mission: the rescue of former Secretary of Defense after he is kidnapped on American soil and taken to stand trial for War Crimes in The Netherlands. Needless to say, Amanda Waller doesn't want a guilty man to stand trial. Enter Task Force X, comprised of Rick Flagg, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Mad Dog, El Diablo, and Captain Boomerang. Full-disclosure: I don't have much history with the Suicide Squad. I've read the Rebirth issue, seen the movie, and now I've read this, and so far I've enjoyed what I've seen. This feels very much like the kind of missions and adventures Suicide Squad would undertake. The characters, also feel in-character very much. In particular, Captain Boomerang is particularly surly.
Ostrander lives up to the hype in perfectly balancing the key and well-known members of the Suicide Squad, with new characters that can likely have a history outside of this particular story. Likewise, he also manages to make this story live up to it's title, of Suicide Squad. The implication is never lost that if there's even a slight screw-up on your end, Waller will blow your skull out without hesitation.
Unfortunately, the art, by Gus Vasquez and Carlos Rodriguez doesn't have the same impact. At one point, I'm 99.9% sure there's a case of mistaken identity between Boomerang and Harley that any editor should be catching and likewise, you just shouldn't see in a book from DC. In addition, there, at times appear to be some scaling issues. Otherwise, cars in the DC Universe have suddenly become much smaller than I would imagine. Sadly, the art is similar in feel to Brett Booth (known for his work with The Flash, Aquaman, and more recently Titans), but lacks the flair and sheen that have made his art so impressive to look at.
What gets me most about this book is the character work by Ostrander. The book features a lot of characters we've never seen before, but it's clear some solid thought went into them and allows them to be revisited. Likewise, classic characters like Waller feel like themselves right up until the expected, but still intriguing twist at the end that punctuates the fact that you're reading what would be considered "classic" Suicide Squad.
As a one-shot, War Crimes does a solid job of getting across who these people are and what they do, as well as the consequences and ideologies behind their actions. This is something I think worth handing to a newer fan of the series like myself especially if you're not keen on digging through older Ostrander Suicide Squad stories. But if they like this, it feels like a good gateway to more Squad adventures.
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Suicide Squad Special: War Crimes Writer: John Ostrander Artist: Gus Vasquez, Carlos Rodriguez Publisher: DC Comics Price: $4.99 Format: One-Shot; Print/Digital