Justice League vs. Suicide Squad finishes up this week with #6, and instead of doing a review of one issue, I decided to cover it all. I reviewed the first issue of this event when it first came out, and I’ve followed the series from there. I’ve even read the tie-in books. Now we get the chance to see how this fares as an event and as a launching point for JLA. Now with this, I will be covering the main story here, with the tie-in books in a separate article. Right now I would tell you to get comfortable, get a nice snack, and some water or other beverage of choice and hang out for awhile. This event has a lot to get into so let’s get started. On with the massive analysis of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad.
This analysis of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad is going to be a beast, so prepare yourselves now. There will be spoilers, some mild to moderate ones.
One thing to note with this series, that it came together as well as it did is remarkable. A weekly series, with tie-ins, and not a delay in sight. That should be applauded in its own right. Putting the first major event of DC Rebirth already on the right foot. Now as for the quality of the event – it’s good. It’s scary good. Joshua Williamson wrote a series that’s compelling from beginning, middle, and end. I loved the first issue of this comic, I really did. Then it kept becoming stronger as the series went on. Even the tie-in stories mattered, for the most part anyway, to Justice League vs. Suicide Squad. You’ll see more in my tie-in article why those worked as well as they did, as the main story in itself is a powerhouse.
First Off: Why did this work?
The simple answer as to why the main story worked is easy to explain, it all makes sense. The first two issues are great at establishing the motives for everyone involved. In any major event like this, if you don’t have a compelling reason for two teams to fight, you’re screwed. I can say this event has many compelling reasons, the one for the Justice League getting involved is a big one. Batman gets the entire League compelled to deal with the Suicide Squad after the events of “I Am Suicide”, and it is brilliant. That’s how the Suicide Squad gets put on a collision course with the Justice League. Which then puts the League in the line of sight of Amanda Waller and here comes the Justice League vs. Suicide Squad. It’s perfect.
From there this story could have easily been about the Justice League fighting the Suicide Squad for six issues. Yet fans right now are tired of all the hero vs. hero battles and this event is the perfect antidote to those fights. In two issues you have the brewing of the fight and then the actual fight, while the actual villain is hiding in the background, Max Lord. Of course, Max can’t succeed on his own so he frees a powerful assortment of warriors from a secret prison known as The Catacombs and the prisoners are, Rustam, Emerald Empress, Johnny Sorrow, Doctor Polaris, and Lobo, and that’s his team. A master of mind control leading a team like this is frightening and Williamson makes this known, big time.
Max Lord and his team are a force to be reckoned with. They add another layer to the conflict.
The addition of Max’s team is where the story gets elevated to another level. As the story goes on to reveal, Max and everyone on his team have issues with Amanda Waller. If you have issues with Waller, that’s when you deal with the Suicide Squad. All of this I mention is in only the first three issues of the series. The conflict, the battle, and then the aftermath with the Justice League captured and in the belly of the Belle Reve beast. Yes, the League gets put in Belle Reve Penitentiary and that’s when it all is revealed. That’s when the story heats up in a big way, it all comes together in #3.
One part I do especially love is you end up learning that in a weird way, the Justice League and Suicide Squad can get along. Williamson makes a big push toward character development for everyone, especially Killer Frost. Since she plays a huge role in the upcoming JLA, this is her time to shine and it is done to perfection. Heck, once you win Superman over I say you’re in good shape. You also can’t help but dig the camaraderie of Harley Quinn and Wonder Woman. It shouldn’t work but by golly it does. Yet alas, as The Justice League is freed from the cells of sorts from Waller, thanks to Batman and his chat with her, is when the madness begins.
When the madness begins, it really does begin. Justice League vs. Suicide Squad’s second half is a thrill ride.
In #3, Batman is the one that kicks things off with Waller as she frees the League and now they have to work together. This is how you get the Justice League and the Suicide Squad on the same page. The build up to all this works as Max Lord makes small to big moves in the first three issues to put his plan in motion. I love as Lord’s team is revealed Superman makes the ultimate point, Max Lord is the real threat. Which leads to my favorite moment of Captain Boomerang trying to snark Superman, never a good idea.
Though now that the Justice League and Suicide Squad know that Max Lord and his team are in play, they don’t know why. Now that’s when Waller has to reveal that they’re all after her and they need to protect her, cue the Squad laughing their heads off. You can’t help but love it as you see the Justice League looking at each other in surprise as the Squad is laughing. It’s fun to see how even as it is all about to hit the fan, there is always time for humor. Especially in having to protect Amanda Waller from danger. Take note, these character interactions are another reason why this series works so well.
The series is really the best example of how to make an event work and build everything else up in the process.
One factor as to why Max’s team is that much more terrifying is the fact that they worked together at one point. His team is the first Suicide Squad and that’s why they all have issues with Waller. That reveal made for a powerful last page and set up things in a big way for issue #4. In #4, that’s when you see things go off the rails in the best way possible. That’s when the big battle between Max’s Squad, the Justice League, and the Suicide Squad happens. The fight is a lot of fun, but even after that’s over, it’s only the beginning. Max Lord’s ultimate plan is set in motion and it is amazing to see.
Thanks to Lord’s plan, you do get your Justice League vs. Suicide Squad fight, oh yes you do. I’ll say this, the Heart of Darkness is involved, and it takes the series up to another level. All I can say is, there’s a good reason why Superman says Max Lord is the real threat in all of this. Max Lord is full on Eclipso and it is scary, to say the least. As now we’re hitting #6, we are in heavy spoiler territory from here. I will say #6 is satisfying on many levels. You get a great set up as to how Lobo fits into the JLA, as Killer Frost has already been established at this point, now it is Lobo’s turn. It’s amazing how organic this all comes together by the end.
I told you, only mild to moderate spoilers for Justice League vs. Suicide Squad here. You have to read this to believe how crazy it gets.
Down the line, I’ll probably do a more spoiler heavy piece on this, but #6 this week is such a satisfying conclusion to this story. I’ll say this, it’s going to be tough to top this but I look forward to seeing DC try. Joshua Williamson, a round of applause for this one. Now all the pieces are in place for JLA and multitudes of other series all across the DCU. It’s going to be amazing to see just what happens next. If anything I could relate the impact of this series to is Infinite Crisis, it does that level of organic world building. It’s truly an amazing effort all around, especially with the art teams.
I can only imagine how much work went into getting this done, but wow am I ever impressed.
I’ve raved enough on Williamson’s writing on this, but the artists he worked with were top flight and worked with him well. Seriously take a look at this talent, Jason Fabok on #1, Tony S. Daniel and Sandu Florea on #2, Jesus Merino and Andy Owens on #3, Fernando Pasarin and Matt Ryan on #4, Robson Rocha and Jay Leisten, Daniel Henriques, Sandu Flores, and Oclair Albert on #5, and Howard Porter on #6, what they pulled off is incredible. There may have been points where deadline crunch was hitting but overall, it looks great. I think it also helped in having strong colorists in Alex Sinclair for the whole run with Jeremiah Skipper assisting Sinclair on issues #3, 4, and 5, they helped a lot in this. Rob Leigh’s lettering is great throughout this series, so everyone involved in getting this out, kudos to you.
That this looks as good as it does in the time frame it was released, this is incredible.
In closing, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad is one phenomenal event. It’s definitely one of the best DC events I have read in a long time. If you are a lapsed DC fan and haven’t thought about giving this a go, do so. It’s waiting for you and you won’t regret a single second of reading this event.