Ricky Church reviews Suicide Squad: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1…
The Suicide Squad has been a popular concept for DC Comics for decades, but is a property DC has been really pushing hard for the last few years now. In the build-up to last year’s feature film and the soft-reboot of DC Rebirth, DC decided to once again update heir team of villains by lining up most of the characters in the film for the new series. Now, DC has collected the first batch of stories from the Rebirth era in Suicide Squad: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1 by Rob Williams with art by the legendary Jim Lee.
Deadshot, Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Killer Cros, Enchantress, Katana and Captain Boomerang make up the Suicide Squad, going on highly dangerous and classified (more often illegal) missions for Amanda Waller to keep America and the world safe. In these stories, Waller sends them to obtain a highly lucrative piece of technology as well as some new recruits for the Squad, one Kryptonian in particular: General Zod. Suffice it to say that things do not go according to plan as Zod meets the team.
Williams has a pretty good handle on the team dynamics in the book. Each character has a unique voice that match their core characteristics while leaving room open for some new development. A couple of Williams’ most stand-out characters are Harley Quinn and Boomerang with some pretty entertaining dialogue and roles in the story. Its no surprise that Harley would have a large role in the series – her popularity has soared in the last few years – and her role in the ‘Going Sane’ story is intriguing as a malfunction makes everyone turn very violent, except for Harley as she reverts back to sanity.
Boomerang is pretty entertaining and comes across as another source of comic relief as well as one or two surprising roles for him. Katana, much like in Suicide Squad, doesn’t say too much, but she gets a few moments that stand out in the book, one of which saving Waller’s life in a very cool way. Enchantress is also given a fair bit of depth as the battle between June Moone and the sorceress’ spirit vie for control of her body. Moone comes across as a pretty sympathetic character, as does Croc under Williams’ writing. There still isn’t quite as much equal time to all the villains, though; despite being one of the primary Squad members, Deadshot and even Flag are pushed aside and as good as Boomerang is, he’s only featured in about half or a third of the book due to an accident he receives on the first mission.
Williams also introduces a new character named Hack, a young African girl who can hack into anything and travel along any technological path. What makes her unique among the Squad is the fact that she is a voluntarily member of the team. Rather than committing a crime and being forced to play Waller’s rules, she wants to be a supervillain and a member of the world’s deadliest team. She is also a huge Harley Quinn fan and its interesting to see these two interact as Hack has some pretty grand notions about Harley’s history.
The overall story is consistent, with ‘The Black Vault’ and ‘Going Sane’ blending together pretty seamlessly. The Suicide Squad: Rebirth one-shot also fits within the story, acting as a prologue to the series as Waller gathers the team together and inducts new members. The only story that feels out of place is the Harley Quinn and the Suicide Squad April Fools’ Special, which focuses on Harley trying to ‘help’ other villains. Though it features a lot of Harley’s trademark humour and insanity, much of its tone doesn’t fit the book thanks to a drastic change in art style and writing, making it extra unfortunate that its the very first story featured. Once readers get past that story, though, its smooth sailing.
When Jim Lee is involved in a book, its no question that the art is going to be great. There’s a lot of stellar imagery as the villains fight against other superpowered foes or each other. Lee makes each of the characters look great and uses a lot of detail on Deadshot, Killer Cros and Harley. Philip Tan also does the artwork on a couple issues, making his style fit in with Lee’s very well. There’s also a large variety of artists for the Harley Quinn special as well as Suicide Squad #8, focusing on a series of vignettes on the team’s members that explores their origins or past missions.
While a lot of the DC Rebirth Deluxe Editions have had some bonus content, they’ve come across slim in that regard. Suicide Squad, however, has a large amount of bonus material compared to the other releases. There’s a lot of variant covers, but the real draw is several of Lee’s sketches and layouts of unfinished pages, giving you an idea of just how much detail he puts into the imagery before turning his pages over. Its definitely a good thing DC decided to include this many sketches with Lee’s name attached to the book.
Williams really captures the team’s chemistry in Suicide Squad: Rebirth Deluxe Edition Book 1, though some of the other characters could have received equal time. Its still and entertaining and engaging book, helped by Lee’s fantastic art. Any Suicide Squad fans should enjoy this book.