SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Suicide Squad #35 by Rob Williams, Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreura, Adriano Lucas and Pat Brosseau, on sale now.
Since its relaunch as part of DC Rebirth, Suicide Squad has consistently been one of the most subversive and politically charged superhero comics on the stands. It's probably no surprise, then that the new arc which kicks off this week — titled “Drain The Swamp” — looks set to ramp that up in a big way. A brand new hero endorsed by the President of the United States is just the start of Amanda Waller’s downfall, as old ghosts resurface, and Bell Reve faces a mass breakout.
Build The Wall
The issue starts with the introduction of a new patriotic superhero codenamed The Wall, a character obviously inspired by the current political climate. While both Marvel and DC remain reluctant to answer the question of who the current president is in their respective universes, the language used in the first page of Suicide Squad #35 is unambiguously intended to remind the reader of President Donald J. Trump.
Statements like “There are many, many bad people out there,” “We will make America safe again,” and “Massive congressional funding. Huge.” all fit in with the President’s unmistakable verbal tics, while the use of oxymorons like “biggest stealth tech” and “secretly codenamed” certainly fit with Trump’s general misunderstanding of the programs he’s often discussing in the real world.
While some may see this as an embrace of Triumpism and American Exceptionalism, it’s important to note that writer Rob Williams is British and an alumni of the subversive weekly periodical 2000 AD, best known for its flagship character Judge Dredd. The popular anti-hero was created as a hyper-satire of America’s police state, and there’s more than a little of Dredd’s DNA in The Wall.
Hack The Planet
Much of the issue follows the ongoing misfortunes of Amanda Waller while Task Force XL faces off with Damage, as hinted at towards the end of Damage #1. Rick Flag visits Amanda to gloat about her downward spiral following a string of less than successful missions and hints that it won’t be long before the government shuts her down. Even the new hero “The Wall” is a dig at Amanda as much as it is the current president's promise to build a barrier between the United states and Mexico, as she is known by that nickname due to her stubbornness. Even her home life is in shreds, as she tries to visit her daughter and newly born granddaughter but is instead shown the door.
While she tries to make sense of the shambles of her personal and professional life, Waller is visited by an old ghost in the form of Hack, the young girl who was briefly recruited into Task Force X due to her immense digital powers, only to eventually be murdered by Captain Boomerang. However, Hack lives on in the systems of Belle Reve, and she wants to know who murdered her, taking over the Louisiana prison and unleashing all of its prisoners as Waller returns to try and calm down the distressed and deceased teenager.
Hack’s likely to discover that it was Captain Boomerang who killed her, but what happens when she learns that Digger Harkness is still on the Suicide Squad? Furthermore, what happens when the supposedly unhackable super soldier The Wall comes face to face with a very angry Kenyan teenager with the power over everything digital?