Comic Book Review: Suicide Squad #49
Suicide Squad #48 starts us off with a bold new direction for the team. Williams loves putting this team through the ringer, and has no problem making sure that everyone faces some obstacle directly or indirectly. “Rocket to Russia” will be a memorable story depending on the choices and reveals to be made as it continues.
What we have to appreciate about this story arc is that we finally got a visual to match the story told about Rick Flag’s tragic past on the field. It means a lot to actually step into his shows to see what happened during that mission where he supposedly made a choice that cost him the lives of his fellow soldiers and friends. I mean, was it really his fault? Someone else’s? This was our time to find out and I was satisfied with the result. The story was as heartbreaking as it gets for a guy who was manipulated in a long game. Maybe not in the same sense that you would have hoped for, but he was dealt the worst kind of hand you could grab as a soldier in charge of many lives. If you didn’t feel sympathetic for Flag before, this was good reason to get there. Not that you need to sympathize with him, but you also need to know what makes him genuinely tick.
This confrontation with Amanda Waller was a long time coming for Rick Flag. As I’ve said before, there are no better times in this series than when Waller is actually forced to confront some of the sinister wheels she has set in motion for her own endgame. This thing between herself and Flag has been written in stone since the moment she decided to pull him out of his cell to offer freedom. He was always bound to figure out the truth of his situation which could only lead to an aggressive response. Finally getting the story of Flag’s past as well made this a bigger moment than you anticipated. All very well-timed out by Rob Williams. It was clear that he had a reason to keep coming back to this character, and it was all for this story arc. Flag’s words for Waller came from a place of anger and pain. Waller’s words came from a place where emotions just aren’t allowed to surface. I loved the way that their personalities continued to clash, while at the same time challenging what’s really going on.
Now the people pulling the strings on this operation was the biggest shocker so far. You tend to expect the unexpected with Suicide Squad, but this development was really out there. This also made sense of the flashback we were finally given to Rick Flag’s past. However, there was no denying that this was one of those times where you were a little more prepared to see a familiar face pop up. This enemy was cool because even then things are not as they seem. Well some things were as they seem when you use “the Vets” as a name for them. All the unknown variables keep you at the edge of your seat for what will happen once this plot is fully understood. Someone wants revenge against Waller, but does it end there? And where does it begin?
For the squad themselves, it was an intense set of obstacles that they were put through. There was a lot of apathy going around which caught me off guard, but I did enjoy finally seeing where Croc’s story would come into play. I hope we can get more out of his story than wallowing in pain over losing Enchantress, but until then it is nice to be reminded that some of them can act human when it counts.
The art team did a standout job this issue. This issue had action, but for the most part it was character driven. That means it mattered more than the characters themselves were able to tell a story. We got that from the characters who were affected most by this situation. The frustrations of Flag, the coldness from Waller, the hopelessness from Croc. The creation of the Vets was also pretty cool. I admired the burning effect added to them as if there was a fire coursing through their bodies. Technically there is, but there are still some specifics we are missing on what they are. The fire effect in general was solid for the blending of warm colors. Not too intense, yet not too weak either. Just the right touch to create a sense of danger for the rest of the squad who is dealing with the Vets. Like I pointed out in the issue before, Eltaeb’s colors were bold, and they added an energy to this story that matched the excitement-level. Being that there was a flashback, the distinction in color was a good touch to draw that line between past and present.
Suicide Squad #49 hit us with another emotional roller coaster for everyone trapped in this game of vengeance. A lot happened here, but nothing stood out more than digging into the past of Rick Flag and what really happened that day when his mission went south. Putting an image to the story makes a world of difference in getting this guy better.