The Crime Syndicate has finally been deposed, and the world is trying to rebuild. In this brave new (52) world, is there any need for a Suicide Squad any more? (I wouldn’t bet against it, if’n I were you.) Your Major Spoilers review of Suicide Squad #30 awaits!
Previously in Suicide Squad: A long-retired secret agenty type, Amanda Waller was given command of Task Force X and her own headquarters in the form of Belle Reve prison, all the better to send super-villains out for her own ends. When the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 arrived, though, all that went out the window, as they raided the prison and busted everything up to hell. She was barely able to keep her team together (thanks partly to her recruitment of James Gordon Jr., and partly to the fact that everybody involved is literally insane with nowhere else to go), and now expects that she will be able to consolidate her power as the head of A.R.G.U.S. and Task Force X as the world rebuilds…
THE LONG SHADOW OF FOREVER EVIL
I’m not usually the immediate post-mortem guy, but at this point I’m willing to call ‘Forever Evil’ a crashing failure, especially since it has been going on for nearly an entire year of real-time. I barely remember what was going on with this book beforehand, and with one exception, most of it doesn’t seem to have done anything positive for the Squad. We get a brief moment of Black Manta being mustered out by a corrupt government official who tells him that he is pretty much free to do anything he wants, including murder Aquaman. The idea of corrupt military types is a frustratingly cliché part of this issue, followed up by a kangaroo court sequence with Amanda Waller before a congressional inquiry panel. I like the fact that things are immediately inverted as the angry senator explains to here that it was all for show, to make sure that his upcoming electoral bid goes well. At the same time, Deadshot (along with Coldsnap and Shakedown of the Masters Of Disaster) is being moved to a new holding facility, apparently in preparation for a new phase of the Suicide Squad. Amanda Waller goes into her meeting (with the same Secretary of Defense who let Manta go) during which she attempts to discuss the future of Task Force X with him, only to get her head bitten off.
I prepared myself mentally for the vicious response…
WHAT’VE YOU JERKS DONE TO MY WALLER?
…a response that never came. Instead, Amanda Waller sits meekly and gets excoriated by the Secretary, slapped down verbally, blamed for the Crime Syndicate’s attack and told that she’s no longer the head of A.R.G.U.S. He shouts at her, humiliates her and actually TELLS HER THAT SHE IS NOTHING.
Worse than that, Amanda just… takes… it. She sits passively and listens as this schmuck tells her that now she works for him, and that she will do as she is told. There have been a lot of changes to a lot of characters in the New 52, but the transformation of The Wall into the quiet, seemingly defeated woman in this issue is one of the most obnoxious of them all, and given the issues with gender politics that we’ve seen since 2011, one that I consider unforgivable. Worse still, the art team doesn’t have the skills to give us any real differentiation in facial expression, leaving Waller with the same blank look on her face throughout the issue, and even at the end where I expected her to at least get angry, she just sits in her chair looking vaguely like Halle Berry. It’s frustrating as hell, let me tell you. The issue ends as Black Manta (having ham-fistedly knocked over a Big Belly Burger to get arrested) is offered an ongoing place in the Secretary’s new Suicide Squad, a job he takes in order to try to give his life meaning.
THE BOTTOM LINE: DULL AND A LITTLE INSULTING
When I saw this book solicited for this week, I wondered why it was late, but upon reading it’s clear that it was delayed because of the delay of Forever Evil #7. The sad part is, there’s no reason to have done so, as this issue doesn’t really reveal anything about FE other than the fact that the Crime Syndicate didn’t successfully destroy the DC Universe, something that we rationally know would never have actually happened. Add to that the unnecessary hobbling of Amanda Waller, one of DC’s few people of color in leadership roles, and this issue ends up feeling hollow and hostile to both readers and characters. The setup is for an all-new Suicide Squad #1 featuring Black Manta, Deadshot and others which will relaunch any minute now, but nothing in this issue makes me want to read more about these characters, not even to see the Secretary Of Defense get his eventual comeuppance. Suicide Squad #30 makes a fundamental error in its treatment of the main characters, and ends up being mostly a housekeeping issue rather than a meaningful wrap-up. with art that is never more than serviceable, earning a disappointed 2 out of 5 stars overall. There’s got to be a better way to relaunch a title…