If you’re one of the movie fans contributing to “Suicide Squad’s” potentially record-breaking opening weekend and you’re totally new to the DC team’s particular brand of mayhem and madness, then you’re in luck. Appropriately timed to the release of their big feature film debut, DC Comics just kicked off an all-new “Suicide Squad” comic book series this week as part of their linewide Rebirth initiative.
Written by Rob Williams with art by Philip Tan, this week’s “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” #1 marks a new era for the supervillain team, one that’s right in line with what moviegoers are seeing at theaters this weekend. The one-shot comic reintroduces the team and gives them a familiar set-up, all before the launch of the new “Suicide Squad” ongoing series on August 17. That issue will see superstar artist (and DC Comics co-publisher) Jim Lee join the “Squad.”
So if you liked the the thrills that the “Suicide Squad” movie gave you, here are 10 reasons from “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” #1 that show why you might be interested in DC’s new series. And while we’re not going to dive too heavily into spoilers in this list, you might want to steer clear if you want to remain totally unspoiled.
10. Amanda Waller’s A Powerhouse
Viola Davis is a perfect Amanda Waller. The award-winning actress brings all the necessary gravitas and intimidation to a role that’s sure to become one of the DC movie-verse’s most iconic roles. In a film packed with killers and psychopaths, Davis’ government agent Waller stands right alongside them as an example of a completely different type of ruthless.
Fans of Davis’ tough talking, steak chewing, gun toting manipulator will be pleased to know that that’s exactly who we get in “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” #1. And, possibly outdoing anything Waller does in the feature film, this Amanda Waller kicks the issue off by standing up to President Barack Obama himself. This is a morally gray Waller that doesn’t back down, and she’ll be very familiar to those that watched the movie.
9. Rick Flag’s Back
When Task Force X was rebooted back in 2011 as part of DC’s previous relaunch (AKA the New 52), the team was pretty much entirely made up of supervillains. They had no civilians operating on the team and, therefore, lacked a moral center. Enter: Rick Flag. The military man played a big role in the original “Suicide Squad” series from the 1980s, keeping the team in line even if he couldn’t always control their behavior. “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” #1 reintroduces Rick Flag to the DC Universe when Waller bails him out of Guantanamo Bay, where he’s being held for disobeying an illegal order. By issue’s end, she installs him as the Squad’s new commander and voice of hey-maybe-let’s-not-kill-literally-everyone.
This set-up, with Rick Flag in charge of wrangling a bunch of bad guys, is exactly what we get in “Suicide Squad.” Joel Kinnaman’s Flag has that same strained relationship with the Squad, and he also works closely with Amanda Waller. It remains to be seen if the comic will go down the same road with Flag and Enchantress that the movie does, though.
8. The Squad You Know
The previous comic iteration of the Suicide Squad had a number of characters that you don’t get to see in the feature film. Characters like Black Manta, Cheetah, Parasite, Deathstroke and Reverse-Flash were all members of the most recent iteration of the team prior to the film’s release, but they’re all missing from “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” #1. Instead, we get a streamlined trio of villains: Captain Boomerang, Harley Quinn and Deadshot. And, as just mentioned, Rick Flag joins them at the end.
Those characters should all be familiar to people that haven’t even seen “Suicide Squad” yet. Will Smith’s Deadshot and Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn have been at the forefront of the film’s extensive PR blitz. And if you’ve seen the film, then you know that Deadshot and Harley are basically co-leads of the movie. And if you left the film wanting more Boomerang, well, here he is! And this change in lineup feels more like a return to basics; both Boomerang and Deadshot were original Squad members, so having them in the film and on the new team makes sense.
7. Familiar Action
The big action set piece in Williams and Tan’s “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” #1 involves the team traveling to Inner Mongolia and stopping a large group of super-powered adversaries in a crumbling cityscape. The battle features lots of destruction and massive pillars of light, colored with eye-catching illumination by Alex Sinclair. Does any of that sound familiar?
It should, because the third act (or, really, the second and third act) of the “Suicide Squad” film all take place in the equally under duress Midway City, with the team going up against hordes of super-charged foes. The battles aren’t totally analogous, no, but they offer a lot of the same visuals and go a long way toward establishing that the new “Suicide Squad” comic book series will offer some of the same sprawling action that fans watched unfold in the film.
6. Harley Quinn’s Crazy
Doctor Harleen Quinzel has undergone many a change in her nearly 25-year-long career. She’s been a sidekick, a love interest, an independent villain, the comedic relief, the eye candy, a psychopath, a loner and a team player — as well as everything in-between. The Harley Quinn we get in “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” is much more restrained than the Harley readers see every month in her also just-relaunched solo series. This is a Harley that is highly competent in a fight, has a history as a medical professional and also cracks very off-putting jokes.
She bears a resemblance to Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, both in temperament and appearance. No, Harley Quinn doesn’t get the spotlight in this issue the way she does in the movie, so it’s hard to tell if they’re exactly alike, but the comic version’s passing mention of her history as a psychiatrist won’t come as a surprise. And, more importantly, the character looks like Robbie’s version. The comic’s still keeping Harley out of her classic jester suit, with Philip Tan’s take on the character sporting the blonde-dipped-in-dye pigtails she’s had in the comics and movie for a while now.
5. Captain Boomerang’s A Jerk
There’s one complaint about “Suicide Squad” that is hard to argue with: the film could have used a lot more of Jai Courtney’s ill-mannered and hot-headed boomerang-throwing thief. If you left the movie wanting more of Captain Boomerang, then you’re in luck with “Suicide Squad: Rebirth.” Fittingly, Boomerang’s right there in the thick of it in the comic and upcoming series. He’s even responsible for the comic’s most gruesome moment when he uses a razor sharp boomerang to slice off the hands of the team’s target.
And when you look at Task Force X’s publishing history, Captain Boomerang’s kinda become the group’s mascot. In addition to being an original member of the team, he has — or at least someone with the same moniker — been a part of pretty much every iteration of the team. If you were wondering why Jai Courtney’s character was really included in the film, that’s most likely why; a Suicide Squad lineup without a Captain Boomerang isn’t really a Suicide Squad lineup. The guy needs to be present — and he needs to be a jerk.
4. Off-Kilter Tone
“Suicide Squad’s” a movie that’s more than a bit different from “Man of Steel” and “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.” Unlike those two previous DC Films efforts, “Suicide Squad” experiments more with storytelling structures and onscreen captions. The film includes more song cues than both the previous DC movies combined, and might include more laugh lines than those two Zack Snyder movies as well. “Suicide Squad” does its own thing, and the comic feels right in line with that.
“Suicide Squad: Rebirth” brings the jokes, appropriate for a comic starring jokesters like Captain Boomerang and Harley Quinn. Boomerang bursts into song in the middle of a firefight and Harley Quinn gets in a dig at Charlton Heston’s love of guns. The comic also has fun with captions, adding arrow tails to boxes that point to the characters they describe, and plays with structure to smoothly transition from Oval Office to Guantanamo Bay to China and back in the first third of the issue. But really, this is a book that follows up extreme acts of violence with flippant self-interested one-liners. Sounds just like the movie.
3. Back To Belle Reve
Much of the “Suicide Squad” film takes place in Belle Reve, the Louisiana-based penitentiary that houses the film’s lead villains. It’s so remote that Amanda Waller says she threw villains in the hole “and then threw away the hole.” The team also returns to the prison at the end of the film, cementing it as their base of operations for any further film appearances.
While Belle Reve isn’t seen in “Suicide Squad: Rebirth,” DC Comics’ September solicits reveal that the prison will still play a part in the new “Suicide Squad” comic. In the series’ initial storyline, titled “The Black Vault,” a mysterious dark sphere will unleash energies that cause everyone in Belle Reve to start committing acts of bloody violence. It might be a few months before we see Belle Reve again, but at least we know it’ll be a major part of the new “Suicide Squad” #3.
2. Familiar Faces Incoming
We touched upon the new “Suicide Squad” comic’s team in an earlier point, but we have to point out that there are more villains signing up to join the team in future issues. The Jim Lee covers solicited for the series’ August and September issues confirm that at least three more characters will join the Squad’s ranks: Katana, Enchantress and Killer Croc.
The addition of this trio of characters will only make the new Squad series more like the movie, since all three of them play major roles in the film. Of course there are some slight changes, like June Moone is now a “demon-possessed graphic designer” instead of an archaeologist. It’s also likely that Katana isn’t Rick Flag’s bodyguard in this series, but instead another inmate at Belle Reve. Still, even as the new “Suicide Squad” comic adds more characters, they’re focusing on the ones new fans will recognize from the film. Could El Diablo or Slipknot join the team in future issues?
1. Larger DCU Ties
While the “Suicide Squad” film mostly operates on the periphery of the established DC movie-verse, it does feature a few very strong ties to what we’ve seen before. Superman’s death is cited as the impetus to bring Task Force X together, and we get to see Batman and the Flash lock away villains like Deadshot, Captain Boomerang and Harley Quinn. Most notable, however, is the mid-credits scene between Ben Affleck’s Bruce Wayne and Amanda Waller. The scene reveals that it’s Waller who gives Wayne some needed information on potential Justice League members Aquaman and the Flash, and the scene implies that Waller knows Bruce’s secret identity and that Mr. Wayne knows all about the Suicide Squad. This film is more tied into the fabric of DC’s shared universe than previously thought.
Similarly, the new minds behind the new “Suicide Squad” comic want to make it more integral to the DCU than ever before. The solicit info for October’s “Suicide Squad” #5 tease the involvement of a major DC player: Lex Luthor. In an interview with CBR, the comic’s creative team talked about their goal to increase the book’s profile.
“One thing that I will say is that one intent going in was that, there have been some great Suicide Squad stories over the past few years, but I think there was a feeling that perhaps the Squad was a little peripheral to the core of the DCU,” said writer Rob Williams. “One thing that we definitely wanted to do with this book as it continues is, tell a story that affects other parts of the DCU — a story that makes ‘Suicide Squad’ a core DC book. Again, I don’t want to give too much away, but where we’re going, you will see certain things occur that definitely make that happen. You’ll see that there is a threat that the Suicide Squad has to counter, and it’s going to have ramifications elsewhere.”
“Suicide Squad” is now in theaters. “Suicide Squad: Rebirth” #1 is in stores now. “Suicide Squad” #1 arrives on August 17.
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