Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Suicide Squad Rebirth #1 Review

Review: Suicide Squad Rebirth #1
Submitted by: Kelly Aliano, PhD, Comics News Editor
3 August 2016

**Issue Spoilers to Follow**

Suicide Squad Rebirth #1 by writer Rob Williams, penciller Philip Tan, and inkers Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, and Sandu Florea, is the perfect issue to be released this week, as the highly anticipated film Suicide Squad hits cinemas nationwide tomorrow evening.  The comic begins with the announcement that Task Force X is over, due to its continual usage of unconstitutional, even un-American, tactics and protocols.  Is Amanda Waller fazed by this declaration from the President of the United States?  Of course not.  She reminds us that being a leader is filled with making difficult decisions and stands by her program, defending the moral uncertainty that is inherent in keeping people safe.  The Suicide Squad, as a concept for a superhero book, was always a reminder of the thin line between heroism and criminal activity.  This new arc is no exception, throwing that idea into relief in its politically charged—and highly relevant to the contemporary moment—opening pages.

Colonel Rick Flag

A new character is introduced, Colonel Rick Flag, a war hero in his own right and the grandson of a WWII-era Task Force X member.  POTUS gives Waller permission to recruit him to lead her team, as his heroism and integrity seem above reproach.  Recruiting Flag not only serves as the inciting incident for a new narrative arc, but also gives Waller a reason to give the exposition for the Squad, including laying out its members and the justification for its existence, for Flag and, ostensibly, for any readers new to the world of Suicide Squad.  She gives Flag a breakdown of the mission—one that seems designed to save lives—and then the action cuts to the current members of the team, engaged in the crisis.  Flag doesn’t believe these villains will do the right thing; Waller convinces him that they will, if under his command.

This issue, like all good anti-hero stories, is deeply embedded in the theme of moral relativity.  Gray areas are EVERYWHERE in this book and that is highlighted by the exceptional color work by Alex Sinclair.  The questions of whether following orders or doing the “so-called” right thing are never cut and dry in the world of superhero comics… because such actions are never definitively “right” or “wrong” in the real world either.  The Verdict: One of the best Rebirth titles so far.  For a book that could have been nothing more than a tie-in to a blockbuster movie release, the issue is literate and compelling and asks hard and important questions about why we fight and what it means to be a hero.

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