Let’s get the bad stuff out of the way first.
Task Force X chief Amanda Waller tortures yet another member of her team. Peacemaker’s ‘crime’?
He asks for a little explanation as to what’s going on in her head.
Someone who’s happier to fall in with The Wall’s orders – backed up, of course, by the old brain bomb – is a character new to the series.
You don’t recognise him? Here’s how he used to look.
So, new uniform, new mission. He’s stopped randomly attacking the citizens of Metropolis and become a multiversal explorer. His mission is to bring back intel on the other earths and, if he comes across likely candidates, new recruits for the squad.
Earth 3, home to dark versions of the Justice League, should be prime recruitment territory.
And back at Belle Reve, Waller gets some interesting information.
Swamp Thing. I never saw that coming. It’s impressive how well writer Robbie Thompson is integrating the latest Suicide Squad series into the new DC Multiverse, with ties to the current Swampy and Crime Syndicate mini-series. He even has Bloodsport on the scene of the latter’s opening Starro story (it’s a shame, mind, that nowhere does this issue mention that these books are on the stands right now).
Bloodsport – poised to make his big-screen debut in the upcoming The Suicide Squad film – is a lot more interesting than in his original iteration. Not only does Robert DuBois have the nutty teleporting weapons of the second guy to use the name, his original backstory – minus Vietnam – is used to add a little poignancy to the tale.
It’s good to see Peacemaker openly question Waller and while I hate seeing him horribly abused by a civil servant gone mad, if it brings this version of Waller’s day of reckoning closer, good. Waller, once a good person who made tough decisions, is now an out and out sadist, unwilling to listen to anyone else. Are we sure this isn’t the Earth 3 version?
This change of pace issue – Peacemaker apart, the rest of the regular squaddies are restricted to a single page showing them recovering from the recent Red X business – is another compelling chapter in what’s turning out to be a great series. We have fascinating characters, surprises aplenty, action a-go-go, well-times humour and eye-popping art.
The illustrations this time come from a gang of artists, with no credits breakdown as to who did what, so a big hand to Dexter Soy, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira and Joe Prado. The first two are generally pencillers, the latter inkers, and I think I can guess at who did what, but I’ll spare myself possible embarrassment. Instead, I commend the gang especially for the striking presentation of Bloodsport and the intensity of the Waller-Pacemaker scenes.
Alex Sinclair puts the usual thought into his colour schemes, from the sickly green lighting of Waller’s office to the twilight tones on Earth 3. Wes Abbott’s clean letters are a treat, and when it comes to identifying character narration, the wee skull for Waller and bullethole for Bloodsport are perfect.
Pansica and Ferreira’s cover illo, coloured by Marcelo Maiolo, looks to have been created for possible trade paperback use, given it features Peacemaker rather than Bloodsport, the character who’s actually on Earth 3 this month. It’s very good.
Next month looks set to be a meeting of criminal minds as the Crime Syndicate meet Task Force X. Expect fireworks.