Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Suicide Squad #50 Review and **SPOILERS**

Back Together, For the First Time
Writer: Rob Williams 
Art: German Peralta, Brent Schoonover and Will Conrad 
Colors: Gabe Eltaeb 
Letters: Dave Sharpe 
Cover Price: $4.99 
On Sale Date: January 16, 2019


This is it, folks, the end of Rob Williams’ time on Suicide Squad. I won’t say it’s been a rollercoaster ride of emotions, because it hasn’t. There have been some good times, a few bad times (Red Wave), but for the most part, it’s been a pretty forgettable run. So how will it all wrap up? With an explosive, balls-to-the-wall conclusion? Don’t count on it. But you can find out in my review of Suicide Squad #50, which is below!

Explain It!
It is tough to end a story. Beginnings are easier, you can introduce the main character, put them in a cool scene right off the bat that likens them to the audience. But how do we dispense with them when the story is done? And even worse, what do we do when we can’t dispense with them? Well, if you’re concluding a run on Suicide Squad, then you drag out a bunch of shit from the first two arcs, massage the details, and call it a day. We return back to our anti-heroes pretty much where we left off: a twenty foot-tall, Tunguska-infected Amanda Waller threatens Rick Flag, when Harley Quinn shows up with her All-Mallet and distracts the government agent. She’s about to immolate Flag and Quinn, then Cosmonut throws himself in front of Waller’s nuclear blaze, sacrificing himself and a large portion of my interest in this story. While running, Harley burps out a bunch of exposition to explain a lot of shit that should have been made clearer earlier. Point is, the undead Marines that feel Flag abandoned them and Amanda Waller are infected with a nuclear virus that they’d like to share with the world. And once this underwater prison goes topside, they intend to do just that. 

But what of the rest of the team? They almost literally have nothing to do but get chased around by these undead Marine’s like members of the Scooby-Doo gang. Here it is, the last issue, and the writer still cannot wield a cast of this size correctly. Captain Boomerang soils his pants a few times. Katana finds the souls in her sword react poorly to the Tunguska virus. Deadshot shoots things. Eventually, they find some kind of alien portal or something? The idea is that if they can shove the original Tunguska in there, the virus will end because it’s made of magic and stupidity. Once Harley and Rick show up and the gang is back together, they give each other the weirdest, flattest pep talks and then decide to save the world. Their reasoning, essentially, is that they’re all pieces of shit, so they have to work together? I don’t know that the writer has ever met any genuine pieces of shit. They aren’t harmonious. 

The ending is like a bag of bowling balls falling down an escalator. The undead Marines confront Rick Flag, and despite his tough talk, he is shamed and unable to act for several moments. Deadshot snaps him out of it, but not before Flag gets infected with the Tunguska virus. The rest of the team tries to pull Tunguska through the portal—except Harley, who is also infected by Waller—and it takes for-fucking-ever. Eventually, they do stuff this galoot inside a portal, and everything is back to great again. Killer Croc is alive again! Even Rick Flag and Harley come back from their illnesses. So I guess there never really was anything at stake at all. 

This issue reads like some big payoff to an epic story, but it’s entirely unearned. Aside from Croc and Enchantress—and maybe arguably Flag and Harley—no relationships between characters were ever developed, so when they have “meaningful moments” it falls flat. These initial two arcs being referenced in this story were some of the most clunky, confusing ones in the run, and a bunch of new information is added about the Annihiliation Brigade and the Russian super-prison that is superfluous since both things are destroyed by the end of the issue. The last scene with Tunguska going through the portal seemed to take forever, and it was false tension because it was always a foregone conclusion. Very disappointed in this issue, while the storytelling was okay, the actual story was lame as hell.

Bits and Pieces:

The ending brings us back to events from the beginning, reinforcing just how disappointing were those initial story arcs in the series. A tale devoid of stakes or likable characters with whom we can connect. I can't see getting this comic unless you're a completionist.


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