Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Suicide Squad #49 Review and **SPOILERS**

Those Who Are About to Kill, We Salute You

Writer: Rob Williams 
Pencils: Diogenes Neves 
Inks: Scott Hanna 
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: December 12, 2018


Uhh, what was happening? Rick Flag is back with the remote control to Amanda Waller’s brain bomb? And they’re in the Russian prison for some reason? Rick ain’t gonna pull the trigger, that’s not his style. I can’t deny I wouldn’t mind seeing Waller’s head crack like a pumpkin though. What winds up happening? You can find out by reading my review of Suicide Squad #49, if you’re so inclined.

Explain It!

Rick Flag’s got Amanda Waller by the short and curlies: she’s tied up to a chair, beaten and weakened, with a brain bomb inserted in her brain. This package has been delivered to Flag with a custom detonator that can expose the interior of Waller’s skull to open air. But who has gifted Rick such a precious plum? Why, it’s the Marines who were sacrificed by command, when Rick refused to march them into a suicide run and was court-martialed and sent to Guantanamo Bay. We now know that, ridiculously, all of this was engineered by Amanda Waller, to make Rick’s guilt gland kick in so he’s be amenable to leading Task Force X. What would she have done if Rick hadn’t disobeyed orders? What if the Marines that were sent on the mission were successful? Perish the thought. This plan of Amanda’s was air-tight from the get-go. The Marines’ plan was not as air-tight, however, because Rick Flag won’t pop Amanda’s top. 
No matter, she had already untied herself and knocks out Flag with one punch. She swears she didn’t set Rick up, but come on? This is totally like some cruel, cockamamie plot she would come up with. She tries running away, but the zombie Marines have control of her brain bomb too––and it’s not a brain bomb, it’s a brain magnet! Just what the hell is going on here? I feel like this story is being written at the same time I’m reading it. The contrivance of this, the penultimate issue of Rob Williams’ run, is that Amanda and Rick Flag face-off at the Russian prison, where his series began. But everything is so slapped together and convoluted, I’m not even sure what the stakes are. Should I be glad that Waller got away, considering that even if Flag had hit the switch all that would have happened is her getting a migraine? And why is the rest of the Suicide Squad even here, anyway? 
They’re here, fighting off the undead Marines and running around and generally making another fine mess to have gotten all of us into. One of the Marines breathes fire––I suppose because he was the flamethrower guy––and there’s this whole bit where Killer Croc is set on fire and is horrified, then later he sacrifices himself by immolating the offensive flame-spewing Marine. Was this supposed to be character development? Is Killer Croc especially afraid of fire, or something? I think they got him confused with Martian Manhunter. Harley Quinn is meditating for some reason, while Cosmonut directs her to save the world from his nuclear teammate Tunguska, who is about to go supernova or something. And at the end, Mecha-Amanda Waller? I’m done. 
It’s common for the conclusion of a series to wrap around and review what came before, even ending in the same place that it began. This issue is like someone threw the first arc of Suicide Squad since Rebirth into a blender and then poured it out onto a spread of newspaper. There’s a lot of cool stuff for the nostalgic: Cosmonut! Amanda Waller on the ropes! Captain Boomerang pooping his pants! But it’s all thrown together with little consideration or impetus. This is a Rick Flag story, with a lot of Suicide Squad nonsense at the fringes to keep us from getting bored. Unfortunately, it only leaves us confused.

Bits and Pieces:

The penultimate issue of this run takes us back to the beginning, and reminds the reader what a narrative mess it was. The concepts in this issue might appeal to faithful readers, but with little connective tissue between them, it's difficult to find a context.


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