Oy gevalt. So far in Suicide Squad, Amanda Waller’s characterization has been weak and pathetic, which has amounted to a major annoyance but not much more. This issue was CHARACTERIZATION BRUTALIZATION for our Waller, and baby, does it hurt.
In related news, I wish the covers would stop showcasing Harley so hard, especially since she’s no longer the focus after that terrible escapee arc.
If only this was accurate, and they actually were falling to their overdue demise. (And was that “UNfriendly skies” tagline really the best they could come up with?
We start in on Waller interrogating El Diablo about the SS’s inability capture our Lime Green friend from last issue alive. El Diablo informs her that obviously they have a “Judas” among them (get it because he’s religious), because apparently repeating the same phrase over and over with different words constitutes storytelling. WE KNOW. YOU’VE BEEN SAYING IT FOR THE LAST THREE ISSUES. Stop acting like it’s a goddamn revelation!
Amanda Waller, smoking a cigarette that disappears between panels, accuses El Diablo of being their resident Judas, struggles with how to fold a folding chair, and then (in the mystery of the What the Fuck is Spatial Reasoning in this Room) puts him in a choke hold. With the chair. She also calls him a bible thumper (wow rude).
I’d also like to point out the awkward transition between panels, once again brought about by two things; one, expressions simply not matching the dialog nor the action on panel, and two, another unnecessary cut in the dialog.
The second panel feels much more dynamic, like she’s just then slammed the chair against him. Her expression’s a lot more fierce and threatening, for sure. (Also am I the only one that really can’t see Waller as the type of person to refer to herself as a “girl?”)
She reminds her prisoner ONCE AGAIN that she doesn’t trust the Squad at all and could pop their bombs and absolutely sleep well at night. You know, just in case you didn’t have the idea already. And then she orders her guards to “lock and load him with a nanite bomb” and HOLD THE FUCK UP
LOAD him with a bomb? Implying that his bomb has been removed and needs to be replaced??? And if that isn’t ludicrous enough, she went at him with a chair without restraining him??? Without a goddamn bomb in his neck there is no reason why he didn’t take out her and her guards right then and there. That’s not bravery, that’s idiocy, doubled by the fact that he’s a fanatic bound by “god’s will” and not his own personal safety.
there is no logical reason why they would TAKE OUT THE SQUAD’S FUCKING BOMBS I MEAN REALLY. I don’t know why these little black holes continue to bother me so much but they really do.
Waller tells him that he’s moving out, and in the next panel (“minutes later”), he’s strapped into a carrier plane looking very confused. I initially took this to mean that he’d been knocked unconscious just to be strapped in, but then I decided I was thinking too hard.
The idea that she only interviewed El Diablo about having a potential traitor, gained zero knowledge, and then immediately sent them all on a mission anyway is…well it’s ridiculous.
At this point, I’m imagining that the rest of the Squad had been sitting strapped into the carrier waiting for El Diablo while Waller gives him a quick rundown, and they’re all sullen and impatient, like children left in the car while Mother runs into the bank with an “I’ll be back in a second I promise.”
In the carrier, there’s the regular cast, then there’s a wall of unfamiliars, and nobody has bothered to tell anyone what’s going on. As par for the course at this point.
There are a lot of stupid things that happen next, so it’s really hard to form a coherent explanation outside of “aiosghlisuf.” Bear with me.
- The mission is “kill Regulus, I’ve recruited some new dudes to help you out” from Waller, sort of explaining who the unfamiliars in the carrier are.
- Ice Man plays the voice of reason, asking why they went on that whole mission to capture that one dude in the last issue, if Waller got the information anyway, rendering the ENTIRE LAST MISSION unnecessary. Black Spider plays the voice of a tool and blows him off. “Must’ve found another.” YOU—THAT’S—NO.
- IMMEDIATELY one of the unknowns spouts off some Hydra Basilisk propaganda and then STABS THE BOMB IN HER NECK.
All of this happens in the span of FIVE PANELS
I mentioned earlier that this issue is an affront to Waller’s characterization. The first offense was the interrogation scene. This is the second. She just recruited some woman who just happened to be a terrorist!? How did this happen!? How was she so incompetent!??
Why weren’t the criminals in the air craft restrained!? WHY DID A CARRIER PLANE FULL OF SUPER CRIMINALS COMPLETELY FAIL TO RESTRAIN A SUICIDE BOMBER DESPITE THE FACT THAT SHE GAVE A MONOLOG FIRST?
So many questions.
Not getting a reply from anyone right after the plane explodes in half, Waller assumes that they’re all dead. Don’t find the crash-site or scope out the damage or anything. Okay. She waits approximately one second after the crash to call her superior and attempt to scratch Task Force X.
Because Task Force X has been working so well so far, he instead demands that she start the program over.
Back the Squad, they are, unsurprisingly, not dead. At all. In a surprising moment, Harley actually acts like the old Harley and expresses concern over whether King Shark can survive a fall from the aircraft to the ocean below. Harley was never an innately bad person, just a misguided and supremely selfish one. I’m surprised to see that side of her show here, when Suicide Squad has so deafeningly mischaracterized her (and everyone else) so far.
The moment doesn’t last.
The Squad parachute out of the plane and wind up shipwrecked.
Everyone is surprised when King Shark can actually do things other than bite.
And then they’re found by the island natives which just so happen to be an Ancient Mayan Tribe which Ice Man knows because he’s suddenly a professor.
The Mayans take them in and they FEAST! Deadshot wants to leave, even though none of the other Squad members do. Waller thinks they’re dead, they’re free, why would they keep doing her work? Yadda yadda yadda, they fight.
BACK TO WALLER, and back to offensively mischaracterizing moment three:
Waller is flopped on her desk with an empty bottle and overturned glass of alcohol. She seems distraught and stressed out, which is weird, considering she spends so much time telling the SS that she can KILL AND REPLACE THEM AT ANY TIME.
She’s woken by a call from her husband. Her conversation is stilted, and when she hands up and throws her earpiece away in the last panel, I would almost call her annoyed. At her husband?
That’s…heartbreaking. Waller finally gets her husband back, and Adam Glass gives her a strained relationship with him. She gets bent out of shape about a bunch of damn criminals that she doesn’t even like, and her family has relatively zero gravity on her current situation. I always saw her as a fairly family oriented character (one who can’t be around family much, but does everything she does for them). Seeing her like this is…upsetting.
The whole scene is a mess. Even if she’s only frustrated at her work, this is the first (second?) time we’ve seen her communicate with family, and she’s practically hostile. What are we supposed to draw from that? Ugh.
Back with the Squad.
Blah blah blah, terrible dialog, pathetic Deadshot can’t get anybody to go along with him because he’s “sort of a jerk.” They all fight.
King Shark seems upset that he “ALMOST ATE A CLOWN MIDGET BECAUSE OF” Harley. (Why would that bother him?)
They all get knocked out and then the Mayans sacrifice them to their gods.
I hope you didn’t think I was kidding.