In “Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad” #3, Joshua Williamson, Andy Owens and Jesús Merino offers some new details surrounding Maxwell’s Lord’s mysterious scheme, in addition to dropping one major bombshell about his team of villains.
Right off the bat in this issue we get a taste of how just ruthless Lord’s team of killers really is, as Katana and Rick Flag investigate what exactly happened in their breakout from Belle Reve penitentiary. It turns out, Lord’s crew killed just about every guard — well, all of them, actually — and we’re not exactly sure why at this point. It could be because the team is composed of truly black-hearted villains, or perhaps there’s some other method to their homicidal madness. Regardless, it should be very clear that the unnamed group of violent, superpowered criminals doesn’t take any prisoners.
Can’t Keep a Bat Down for Long
Perhaps the most surprising moment of the series thus far was that Waller and her Suicide Squad were successfully able to incarcerate Batman. Well, we learn in this issue that they weren’t able to do so for long, despite strapping in the Dark Knight with a Hannibal Lecter-style mask and straightjacket.
Faring better than he did in Final Crisis, Batman manages to break out of his constraints and make it to Amanda Waller to get some answers. Unfortunately for the rest of the Justice League, they didn’t fare as fortunate, as they’re still held up in various confines by Waller at Belle Reve. Lucky for them, Waller eventually sets them free, and offers an explanation for the imprisonment.
Killer Frost’s Hesitation, Explained
The shining star of the previous issue was Killer Frost, who singlehandedly managed to incapacitate the entire Justice League by sucking their life-force dry in a suitably chilling fashion. Before she did this however, she exhibited noticeable hesitation as she prepared to attack Superman. In this issue, we get a bit of an explanation for her hesitancy in taking down the Man of Steel. Prior to manifesting her powers, when Frost was simply Caitlin Snow, it turns out she was inspired by Superman to keep pursuing her Ph.D., despite having recently been told by a professor that she may as well give up. “I was about to call it quits and go home … but then I saw you … and I thought … if a man could fly … I could stay in college.” A nice character building moment, and something that provides context for a seemingly strange decision from last issue.
We’re keeping an eye on Killer Frost for the rest of the series. Eventually, as we’ve learned from solicits, she’ll be on the Justice League, so don’t be surprised if she turns out to be a major hero of this story rather than the villain her previous incarnations have cast her as.
Maxwell Lord’s Plan Comes Into Fruition
In terms of developing the over-arching plot, the issue shed a little more light on Maxwell Lord’s plan of world domination. In this installment, Lord takes his team of killers to an island in the South Pacific, where he seeks out a “shaman’s high priest” in order to gain access to some being — that he can presumably mind control — who will give him the ability to take over the world. We don’t know who the being is at this point, but we do know Lord picked up something mystical on the island, before heading to Belle Reve, where he’ll encounter this mysterious, powerful being.
Killer Roll Call
When Waller rounds up the League and Task Force X to explain what Lord is up to, she also provides some context for the villains that comprise Lord’s team. Here’s some of the info provided on each character.
Emerald Empress: “Wields the Emerald Eye of Ekron — a weapon capable of immense mystic energy…Claims she’s from the future…Has elements of Green Lantern technology.”
Raza Kattuah, A.K.A. Rustam: Named after the legendary Persian hero. “Fancies himself a righteous assassin, and with his flaming scimitar that can cut through anything…”
Doctor Polaris, A.K.A. Doctor Neal Emerson: “Former A.R.G.U.S. scientist. His experiments on himself drove him mad but gave him the ability to control electromagnetic waves.”
Johnny Sorrow: “Former actor turned psycho. Was trapped in another dimension but exchanged his physical body to become an emissary of a god called the King of Tears…Has access to extra-dimensional powers that we still don’t understand.”
Lobo: “A bounty hunter from the planet Czarnia. Claims to have killed his world’s entire population. He’s strong and fast…but it’ his ability to heal from any injury that makes him a challenge.”
And the Big Reveal
Finally, on the last page, we’re given some justification for why we should really fear these guys: They’re the original Suicide Squad. And, according to Waller, they know how to work as a team incredibly well. (She trained them after all).
This leads us to wonder, what exactly ended the tenure of Waller’s original team? They obviously work well together — at least enough to be have survived their mission (missions?). And why doesn’t Waller have the ability to kill them on the spot? The team clearly wants to murder Waller, so that means she’s done something nefarious. What could that be exactly?
As for Maxwell Lord’s master plan, we’ve yet to learn what power he’s tapping into that makes him think he can conquer the Justice League and Suicide Squad. Could it have something to do with the imminent introduction of Eclipso? And does Lord really have the power to take down both teams, control a third group, and maintain control over the soon to arrive black diamond-fueled supervillain?
“Justice League Vs. Suicide Squad” #4 by Joshua Williamson and Fernando Pasarin hits stands on January 11.