War For Earth 3 #2 review

The Titans have been teleported to Earth 3 to help Rick Flag’s unofficial Suicide Squad stop Amanda Waller’s Suicide Squad taking over the world.

Or something. Honestly, several months into this expanded Suicide Squad storyline I’m still not sure what her point is… Waller’s decided she can’t keep her own Earth safe so she’ll protect Earth 3 instead? By invading it?

I think I know what the point of this issue is.

FIGHT!

It’s one big battle as good guys bash bad guys and vice versa. Bad guys fight on the right side, good guys move to the bad side… it’s pretty hard to discern anyone’s motives. For example, pseudo-Superboy Match and Batman baddie Nocturna aren’t in the fight, they’re having a time-out in Hell, when Waller shows up to.

By the end of the issue they’ve joined Waller’s very own Justice League – basically the members of the Crime Syndicate who survive this issue. The reasoning is muddy.

OK, Match is a clone of Superboy Kon-El, but how is Nocturna a ‘carbon copy’? Why does Match think he can stop Waller if she oversteps the line… the woman has constantly abused him, physically and mentally. She’s murdered his colleagues. She’s invaded Earth 3, causing heaven knows how many casualties and fatalities.

How damaged do you have to be to throw your lot in with Waller when you’ve a chance to be free?

I just can’t get beyond the Waller problem. Since the beginning of the last Suicide Squad series all vestiges of the good woman willing to do bad things has gone. She’s simply rotten to the core. Every time we see her she’s committing crimes, trampling over human rights. She’s not super, but by the end of this issue she’s probably DC’s most successful villain, having invaded and take over Earth 3. She pisses off everyone she meets, including Ultraman, who for some reason doesn’t simply vaporise her the way he does most anyone else he finds annoying. I was sure the Waller we’ve been seeing would turn out to be the Earth 3 version, people on that world being more likely to be evil, but no, we’re told this is regular Waller. She just want to help.

Bless her.

So there’s Nightwing, defiant. Surely he’ll send the ‘Teeniest Titans’ home and stay to lead the fightback against Waller and her fellow thugs?

Nope. The good people of Earth 3 can go hang.

Ah well, at least this Nightwing is consistent with the presentation of the Titans in their ending-soon Titans Academy series – dumb and useless.

There really is no point to the Flash and Titans comics having been linked to the Earth 3 storyline – they make no useful contribution, the characters just appear in fight scenes before Waller inexplicably wins.

So, Earth 3 is sealed off from the rest of the Multiverse which would, I suppose, serve Waller’s plan to remove at least one world from the cosmic Newton’s Cradle of Crises. She’s going to rule there, with the CSA as her muscle – though what’s in this for them, I have no idea, they already ruled Earth 3.

But a page turn later brings that scene with Match and Nocturna, above, on regular DC Earth 0. They sign on with Waller’s very own Justice League – the Crime Syndicate!

What on Earths? Are the CSA happy to be cut off from the world they lorded it over so they can make another doomed-to-failure bid to take over the Justice League’s Earth? Where’s the sense in that? And again, why would they follow Waller? She’s just a bully with a mean mouth.

And yet, despite all the problems, War For Earth 3 #4 is the best of the labelled issues. (Well, it’s a pretty low bar.) It’s not a tangential affair, like the aforementioned Titans Academy and Flash, Waller’s plans are at the centre of things. And there are a couple of great moments, courtesy of writers Rob Williams and Dennis Hopeless. That ‘snogging’ dialogue is wonderful, coming from a Demon. Ultraman is nicely in line with the excellent version in last year’s excellent Crime Syndicate mini-series.

And there’s a brilliant team-up between Mirror Master and Ambush Bug – while everyone else is cowering, this odd couple combine their unique transport tricks – teleportation and Mirror Dimension manoeuvring – to neuter Earth 3’s most powerful person.

Rising star Kieran the McKeown – the Irish talent illustrated the aforementioned Crime Syndicate mini – draws most of the book, but he’s not alone.

It’s odd that Julio Ferreira has just two pages, far apart from one another – did something get changed, and new pages were swapped in? For example, The Flash issue saw Johnny Quick of the Crime Syndicate stealing the Cosmic Treadmill for Waller – it wasn’t mentioned. Whatever the case, the art throughout is really rather great – there’s no one image that stands out, but it’s good looking, and the super people look impressive enough. The big winner among the cast is Rick Flag Jr, who suddenly has the lustrous locks of a Sunsilk model.

Matt Herms and Simon Bowland do a bang-up job on the lettering and colours, while Rafa Sandoval continues the cover image that’s been on all this event’s instalments, with colours by Alex Sinclair. It’s fine.

So, what comes next? There’s a reference in the issue to Waller knowing something bad is coming – isn’t it always? – so perhaps we’ll see her Justice League Really Dark in the Dark Crisis event. ‘…Amanda Waller won’, the final phrase of this issue, surely can’t be the last words on this run of Suicide Squad.

10 thoughts on “War For Earth 3 #2 review

  1. Based on interviews, Joshua Williamson, the architect of the upcoming “Dark Crisis,” was inspired by “Infinite Crisis.” (Which makes me feel so old… 🙂 That was 17 years ago but in “reader years” it seems like yesterday… ) Anyway, there were four mini-series leading up to “Infinite Crisis” as well as hints sprinkled here and there in other titles. And if you look at the DC landscape right now, several titles — most of them Williamson’s — seem to be similarly laying the groundwork for “Dark Crisis.” I’d include “Suicide Squad” and this Earth 3 event among those. But in the case of “Infinite Crisis” they had four different mini-series by four different creative teams, which I thought were really successful. All four of those minis were pretty high quality, but with different writing/art styles. I don’t feel like that same successful formula is being employed here, even if that is the intention.
    As for Waller, I’ve just been following this “Squad” run via reviews like yours. I’d too been hoping for an Earth 3 doppelganger. I guess, if “it all matters” per Scott Snyder/Death Metal, then this Waller is the same one as in Ostrander’s run, meaning she has finally decided after 34 years or so to take a different approach to world-saving. And hasn’t this book actually shown a couple flashbacks to the Ostrander Squad from the 80s/90s? So I’m thinking the creative team believe they are working with the Ostrander Waller/legacy. But, honestly, it could have been written far far far far better and with more nuance. The idea of a Waller who has decided not to keep doing the same thing over and over and go for broke isn’t a bad one. But it needed far better execution and a few really good character-study issues about how she got to this point. Too many “Squad” writers like the action and killing off characters. They totally miss how Ostrander’s run was ALL ABOUT character. If I’d been the editor on this book I would have pushed for one issue that was like a “Times Past” or something focusing just on Waller and her change in attitude from when she first started running the Squad until present day. It would catch new readers up and be satisfying for old timers like me.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I should add, though, that maybe THIS is just how the current “Squad” creative team sees Waller, and they don’t think there needs to be an in-story explanation for her change in attitude/approach. In which case they don’t get her at all…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’m another one who hates that Amanda Waller has been written as a sociopathic murderer for the last decade. John Ostrander created such a wonderfully complex, morally ambiguous anti-hero with a genuinely multifaceted personality, and since the New 52 she’s been reduced to a one-dimensional caricature.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Every time I see a glimmer of the old Waller, it gets shot down. There’s fun in this issue — Ambush Bug, the Teeniest Titans, some other things — but man, I’m a little tired of all this. This run started pretty strong, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Well that was confusing!

    This whole run of Suicide Squad is like a variation of Future State: Suicide Squad, thrown in a blender. In the prior telling, Waller seals off Earth-3 to, I think, protect Earth-0 from it. She leaves the CSA in stasis over there, gets Conner to take on the role of Earth-3 Superman, and she dies. (I think the Earth-3 atmosphere is toxic to people from Earth-0 or Earth-Zero or wherever we are, though that plot point grows and shrinks from moment to moment in both stories, depending on the writer’s convenience it seems.)

    This version? I don’t know. At first it seems she thinks Earth-0 is either beyond saving, or a crisis is coming that can’t be stopped, so she adopts Earth-3 as a place where she can accomplish things. But it seems implausible that she can’t get anything good done on a world with a good Justice League, but thinks she can handle one with an evil CSA instead. (Ultraman seems more amoral than evil – Johnny Quick and Atomica are worse, aren’t they?)

    The ending had me confused. She powered up a device to seal off Earth-3, but then where does everyone wind up? If the remaining CSA is on Earth-Zero, why did she have to seal off Earth-3? Ultraman was banished to the Phantom Zone, and she has the rest of the CSA with her, so what remains on Earth-3 that is a threat?

    If they are actually all still on the sealed off Earth-3, then why is the caption at the end “Earth-Zero”?

    Or are Match and Nocturna teleported back to Earth-3 at the moment they are kissing, signified by the faint glow behind them at that moment? But the background – with very limited and unhelpful information on it – doesn’t change. Clouds or smoke.

    Maybe the caption “Earth-Zero” is an error?

    The next issue of Suicide Squad, coming out tomorrow, might explain something. Don’t hold your breath!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad it’s not just me who’s confused, what a mess of an ending. The Earth 0 caption being incorrect was my first thought, but who really knows, the way DC chops and changes it’s stories. I enjoyed your theories more than the comic!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Suicide Squad sheds little to no light on that Earth-Zero Match/Nocterna page. I don’t recall them ever escaping back to Earth-Zero. In fact, they are standing there behind Waller, fully embodied, when Flag et al are teleported out, just before Waller seals off Earth-3. If she truly seals it, there should be no way back to it, so it makes no sense that Match and Nocturna are briefly on Earth-Zero, and the caption “Earth-Zero. Later.” must be an error.

        OR: she throws the switch AND teleports everyone remaining with her off Earth-3 to Earth-Zero just in time, and Waller and the whole CSA are actually now secretly somewhere else on Earth-Zero. Which is reasonable – it leaves the Waller character still usable, rather than sending her off forever in an adrift Earth-3.

        If that’s the answer, then all that she really accomplished was sending Ultraman to the Phantom Zone. She not only left the rest of the CSA intact, but brought them all HERE?! And why seal off the now benign Earth-3? And, she made the CSA even worse by having revived Johnny Quick somehow.

        But, contradicting that, Match and Nocturna are agreeing their home wasn’t their home anyway, and want to have a new chance. Which means they are deciding to be done with Earth-Zero and be with Waller on Earth-3! Which means they somehow briefly got back to Zero, and then ended up back in the supposedly sealed-off 3.

        Further, the first page of Suicide Squad #14 suggests Waller is still on Earth-3, “to keep as her own.” But perhaps Ambush Bug is misinformed.

        And while Bloodsport is standing between Donna and Waller on Earth-3 when Flag and company are teleported to Earth-Zero, Suicide Squad makes it clear that Bloodsport is sent back to Earth-Zero. When does that happen? Right after she sent back Flag, but off-panel? He does end up in his own swimming pool, with his alt-brothers.

        I doubt editor Paul Kaminski had time to clarify these details when he probably had to spend most his budgeted time juggling the 5 artists.

        It’s funny how a single confusing caption can lead me down such a rabbit hole. I probably spent more time on these comments than Hopeless spent writing the issue!

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Lord, you deserve a medal for all this thinking. I’ve said it before, someone really needs to look at the editing in today’s comic books, there are so many storylines with appalling holes in them.

        Liked by 1 person

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