As the Suicide Squad film is about to be released, DC makes the most of the situation by releasing Suicide Squad: Rebirth immediately beforehand.
The Suicide Squad is a great concept. Originally a Cold War team from the late 1950s, John Ostrander reworked the notion, making them a team of super-villains forced to perform covert operations for the US government. While that notion remained through later incarnations of the team, rarely had it been executed as well as it was in the original run.
One of the worst changes to take place with the Suicide Squad happened as part of the New 52. Amanda Waller, the ruthless and Machiavellian leader of the team, was transformed from a short, fat, middle aged black woman into a sexy young hand to hand combatant. The attitude was still there, but part of the effectiveness of the Amanda Waller character was how the strength and determination of the woman were her primary assets. How much her physical appearance belied the status she actually held.
Well, the first thing I need to say about Suicide Squad: Rebirth is that the real Amanda Waller is back, in all her corpulent glory.
And what does she do in her first scene? Get into a shouting match with Barack Obama! Obama is none too pleased with the entire notion of the Squad, and incensed that it had been operating with his knowledge or oversight. Playing realpolitik, Amanda manages to convince Obama of the necessity of the team, while at the same time agreeing with him that it must have a moral core, a leader who can be trusted.
This serves as a re-introduction to Rick Flag, the original leader of the team many years earlier. Although in this reboot, Waller is recruiting him to lead the Squad for the very first time. And Rick Flag is far from the noble hero that Waller portrays him to be. Indeed, when we meet him, he is imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay.
We do get to see the Squad members in action in the last part of the comic, a nasty and vicious fight to take possession of a deadly weapon. Longtime Squad members Deadshot and Boomerang are working alongside Harley Quinn, an addition to the team during the New 52 period, and a good one at that.
This Rebirth issue has an awful lot going for it, and shows promise for the ongoing series. I hope Rob Williams keeps the political element. That was one of the great things from the Ostrander series, which got lost along the way. The art is strong, and gritty. Suicide Squad should never look too clean. Harley Quinn does not look quite right to me, but otherwise I really like the art by Philip Tan, with inks by Jonathan Glapion, Sandu Florea, and Scott Hanna.
I have loved the Suicide Squad through good incarnations and bad ones. It’s far more fun when I can truly enjoy the book. And by the looks of this issue, the new series is one I will be proud to be a fan of.