DC Universe Rebirth: Suicide Squad - Burning Down The House
Amanda Waller is having the worst day ever. She has been relieved of her duties as the Head of Task Force X (Rick Flag, Katana, Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Enchantress, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Hack) by none other than the President of the United States, himself...And one of her deadliest recruits, Rustam, former leader of the deadly Jihad, has returned from the dead to destroy Waller and everything she holds dear. Driven by devotion to his ideals of freedom, Rustam strikes at Waller and the heart of corruption in several of the world's governments by forming The Burning World, a group of high-powered super-villains that he breaks out of their prisons and convinces to share his vision of a liberated world. Belle Reve, Blackgate...One by one, Waller's strongholds crumble, her intel is stolen, and her avenues of escape are cut off. As Rustam closes in for the kill, Waller and the Suicide Squad strike back, only to find themselves probably outmatched, and quite possibly betrayed by a double agent in the team! Waller always knew that forcing super-powered villains to work for her was like playing Russian Roulette...But this time, Rustam just might be the bullet that ends all her machinations - annihilating her, and Task Force X forever.
Standalone/Back-up Story: "War Crimes" - When a corrupt former Secretary of Defense is kidnapped by Strikeforce Europa, a crack team of European super-powered operatives bent on making him stand trial for various war crimes, Amanda Waller sends Task Force X to recover the crooked S.O.B. before the United States acts with force - an act which would create an international incident that may turn America's allies against her, and kick off a war!
Rob Williams pens "Burning Down the House," an action-packed, fast-paced Suicide Squad adventure that is full of classic Task Force X betrayal, intrigue, murder, and mayhem. For the most part, this book is pretty great - it's got a villain in Rustam that may, or may not be really villainous (that's always great), and a protagonist in Amanda Waller who may or may not be good, but who is definitely a different, more virtuous kind of monster. I love how Williams juxtaposed these two characters, highlighting their many similarities, and the places where the similarities sharply end. There are also some great plot twists that kept me on the edge of my seat wondering who was going to end up dead on this mission, who was the traitor and why he or she would ever dare betray Amanda Waller and her merry gang of psychopaths. Sure, Enchantress was way funnier than Harley Quinn. And, sure, the resolution was simplistic and very Batman-y, but the stunted payoff didn't change the fact that the journey was totally worthwhile. Eddy Barrows lays down some great, atmospheric pencils for Williams' story, and John Romita, Jr. does competent work in his blocky, overly-nuanced style. "Burning Down the House" is a solid Task Force X tale, but by no means a new classic.
RATING: 8 out of 10.
In "War Crimes," the great John Ostrander returns in top form to Task Force X, giving us a much nuttier, much funnier Harley Quinn backed up by a brilliant Rick Flag, a volatile Diablo, a crafty Captain Boomerang, and a reserved, but highly effective, Deadshot. Oh, and Mad Dog, who is basically the red-shirt of the group. While this story is hard-hitting, and high-octane, Ostrander still finds time to insert some great one-liners that are sure to make you at least crack a smile in the midst of all the mayhem. Ostrander focuses on the mechanics of the team, and has a blast with this story. I did too. It was all action, all fun. Maybe they should let Ostrander take the reins again. Who knows? Maybe even give him a shot at penning a Suicide Squad film? I would love to see that. Gus Vazquez's pencils are uncomplicated, straight-forward, and a bit cartoon-y at times which works out perfectly as the story swings from violent to slapstick and back again. Love it!
RATING: 10 out of 10.