Spoiler Warning: It should go without saying that there are spoilers in my reviews, so if you want to experience these stories and their surprises for yourself, maybe skip the rest of this article. Long story short: Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 offers some fantastic art, and solid character writing, but ultimately it seems like an extended commercial for the Suicide Squad ongoing title relaunch on August 17th – I’d say this one isn’t a “must-buy” compared to some of DC’s other titles!
This week, DC is really hammering home the Suicide Squad thing. In addition to the movie, we’re being treated to a new Suicide Squad comic, Harley Quinn, and Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Boomerang. Plus, at the end of the month, we’ll be getting Suicide Squad: War Crimes Special by John Ostrander, the granddaddy of Suicide Squad.
The first, and perhaps most relevant, review in my Suicide Squad bundle for today is for Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 (you can read my review on Harley Quinn #1 here, and my review of Suicide Squad Most Wanted: El Diablo and Boomerang #1 here). I got a sneak peek at this title last week, and you can check it out here if you’d like to get my first impressions.
DC’s Rebirth relaunch titles are meant to bridge the gap between the New 52 and the brand’s new direction for its various comic titles. So in a sense, it was logical for them to publish a “Rebirth” issue for each title, to serve as a jumping off point. Unfortunately, many of those issues feel a lot like filler episodes in a long-running television show, and Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 gives off that vibe.
Don’t get me wrong – writer Rob Williams and the various artists do a great job with the title. Philip Tan, Jonathan Glapion, Scott Hanna, Sandu Florea, and Alex Sinclair (on colors) do really bring the characters to life, and the action scenes set in China later in the book are pretty awesome. Similarly, Williams does a great job establishing each character early, from Amanda Waller’s characteristic steely disposition and Rick Flag’s dedication to doing the right thing, to Boomerang and Deadshot’s cold-blooded efficiency in carrying out their mission. I’m also intrigued by the premise of a metahuman genetic bomb that can grant or take away super-powers for a limited time.
However, having said all that, the end of the first issue doesn’t fill me with the sense of drama that Williams was clearly going for. Instead, the whole comic seems like an extended commercial for the Suicide Squad ongoing series relaunch later in August. Instead of truly capturing my interest, SS: Rebirth #1 sort of just made me shrug and wonder when the real story was going to start.
Another complaint that I have is one that I voiced briefly in one of my earlier reviews for Wonder Woman: Rebirth #1. Specifically, DC is relaunching three different titles, each of which feature overlapping characters, most notably Harley Quinn (who appears in Suicide Squad, Harley Quinn, and Suicide Squad Most Wanted). While I know that comic book titles often run different stories simultaneously, for a comic publisher infamous for its convoluted continuity and semi-regular mega-events to reset its universe, you’d think they would try to keep it under control a bit better. I get that popular characters sell comics, so they want to try and spread them out as much as possible, but I’m sure in ten years they’ll be wondering how to reboot or retcon things so they make sense again.
Anyway, in general I think Suicide Squad: Rebirth #1 is a fine comic, albeit somewhat needless. You could probably hold off on picking this one up and just snag Suicide Squad #1 when it comes out on August 17th!