When I saw that Frank Tieri was writing Suicide Squad I was instantly excited. I am a fan of both and having them together is a win-win to me. Then, as the issue drew nearer, Tieri let a bunch of fans know that this was an Amanda Waller story and my excitement level shot through the roof. Why? Because this is "The Wall" not that impostor from the New 52. Yes, of all the characters people have been pining for, Amanda Waller is near the very top of my list. I don't know what that says about me, but let's get on with the review...
The Suicide Squad is all about the villains, right? Well, after a crazy opener that hints at a pretty grim future for The Wall, we get them. However, it's not what you think. With the dome in full effect over Metropolis, there is no Squad, but villains got to make a living and we see how. Deadshot and Captain Boomerang are selling their very particular set of skills to the highest bidder and at this moment it's Toyman. He wants Superman dead and Deadshot agrees...to kill all of them for a cool Mil.
I don't know how others will take to this opening, but I loved it. Frank Tieri does such a great job of showing the effects of living under the dome through the eyes of the less desirable. Better yet, it shows the advantages of being a non meta-human. While the likes of the Atomic Skull are now regular shmoes, Boomerang and Deadshot are on the top of the heap. Until the dome comes down. I laughed out loud as Atomic Skull gets his powers back, but that quickly turned to horror as Deadshot just straight up murders Toyman and takes his money.
As Telos' speech rings out through Metropolis, Amanda Waller and Barbara Gordon are intently watching...and planning. Barbara (Oracle!) shows that she always thinks ahead and is just awesome and Waller heads off to meet with General Lane. The Suicide Squad is back, baby!
General Lane briefs Amanda on the situation...the Kingdom Come heroes are out to get them with Alan Scott leading the way. While I really don't like the explanation of how Alan can keep his ring charged, I understand it's necessary and it let's Tieri set up New Oa as the base for the Big Bads. I am not a rules nazi like Eric as long as it leads to some cool storytelling and it does here.
All this is well and good (maybe great), but what everyone picking this book up wants is the Squad. Frank Tieri gives us a doozy. Sure, we get Waller's old team of Count Vertigo, Deadshot, Poison Ivy and Captain Boomerang, but there's some new (old) faces as well. Bane, Black Manta and Deathstroke are part of the team, but the best rookie is Cyborg Superman. Having him on the team is so crazy, but it's even more so since Carol Ferris is also helping out Amanda Waller fight a Green Lantern. Shit just got real!
Remember when I said that Barbara Gordon showed how awesome she was when the dome went down? Well, she had thought ahead and set up a device to receive incoming calls from other cities when and if that happened. Seriously, other heroes didn't even think there were other cities, but Barbara thought ahead and it may just pay off...or blow up in her face. You'll know what I mean when you see the last page cliffhanger. Risky, very risky.
If you haven't figured it out yet, I really liked this issue. Frank Tieri sets up so much, but it all plays out naturally. Showing Deadshot and Boomerang on top of the world (or dome) only makes it that much worse for them when it goes down and they are forced back on the Squad. Also, the Suicide Squad thrives on the tension between it's members and this Squad has that in spades. Then throw in the mysterious flash forward beginning and I can't wait for next month's finale.
I really appreciate what Tom Mandrake is going for with the art in this issue. It's the old school look that I love right down to my beloved Wall. Sure, the cross referencing nature of this event leads to some odd looks for certain realities (Kingdom Come this hero), but Mandrake stays true to the name on the cover and there is no question this is a Suicide Squad book.
Bits and Pieces:
By nature, these first issues are going to be setup heavy, but Frank Tieri uses this one to set up so much. An awesome team, a formidable foe and two intriguing cliffhangers. If you are a fan of the old Suicide Squad, the New Suicide Squad or anything in-between, I recommend you pick this issue up.