If you’ve collected comics within the past ten years or so, you’re well aware that when a major crossover event rolls around, the tie-ins are sure to follow. And although Justice League vs. Suicide Squad is by no means an exception to this rule, there aren’t an onslaught of side stories, so completionists won’t have to drain their wallets as much this time around. It’s likely due to the fact that this particular event is a weekly and therefore there’s simply no time to pump out various satellite miniseries. Still, that doesn’t mean obvious titles such as Suicide Squad are exempt from taking part.
With “The Black Vault” now behind us, regular series writer Rob Williams – who shares scripting duties with Si Spurrier here – has thankfully stayed on board for the tie-in to make sure the expected level of quality we’ve found in previous offerings remains intact. And unlike preceding issues, this one does not feature a backup story and instead tells one fluid tale for the entire page count.
One notable absence that readers will lament is that of artist Jim Lee, who surprisingly managed to keep a twice-monthly schedule. That’s not a jab toward him – it’s just well known that he works at his own pace. I’m not quite sure whether he’ll return for a future arc or has opted to move on to another project, but he will be missed.
In his place is Riley Rossmo, whose style is practically a 180 from Lee’s, but is quite impressive nonetheless. Much like the issues of Batman he drew in 2016, every page has generous amounts of personality. His renderings of facial expressions rival what you’d see in an anime produced by Madhouse and, if I may say so, he’s the right person for the job should a solo Lobo title be launched anytime soon.
Since I just name-dropped the Main Man, now is as good of a time as any to say that he’s featured heavily in this issue, as are the various other ruffians currently serving as the antagonists over in Justice League vs. Suicide Squad. As we recently learned, they were actually Amanda Waller’s first Suicide Squad and this standalone yarn details their one and only mission.
In short, they’re tasked with providing a solution to a conflict that echoes real life situations involving North Korea. Well, except for the fact that they have their own band of metahumans known as Jangsun’s Gods. It’s also interesting to learn why Waller has since resorted to more extreme measures of control. Let’s just say putting bombs in peoples’ brains in order to assure their compliance wasn’t originally on her agenda.
I don’t have to post major spoilers in order for you to deduce these events didn’t go the way had Waller planned. Again, there’s a reason why this is their first and last mission and it does tie nicely into the grand scheme of the larger event. This isn’t at all what I expected – and I mean that in a good way. Tie-ins can often be inconsequential, but this is one cool reading experience.
The beauty of Suicide Squad #9 is that it doesn’t really require any prior reading in order to be enjoyable. You could probably even appreciate this done-in-one without having read a single issue of JL vs. SS, although I highly recommend that you do so. And, as I intimated earlier, Lobo fans will definitely get a kick out of it.
Violent, intriguing, and highly accessible, those who love bad guys are well advised to pick up a copy of Suicide Squad #9.