By Rob Williams, John Romita Jr., Eddy Barrows, Richard Friend, Eber Ferreira, Dean White, & Adriano Lucas.
The “Burning Down the House” storyline reaches its finale. Writer Rob Williams thrived in the aftermath of the event, Justice League vs. Suicide Squad. He took one of the key loose ends from the series, Rustam, and fleshed him out further. As Rustam’s plan for freedom was nearing fruition, a not-so-surprising character returns and changes the game – or actually reveals the true game that’s been afoot…
Williams digs deep into the Squad history by bringing back characters such as Manticore, Jaculi, and Ravan and makes any DC Comics fan really appreciate the stories he’s trying to tell. Also, Suicide Squad has always been steeped in drama and politics because it’s about criminals controlled by the government or, in truth, Amanda Waller. The action is great fun, but the title has never been about that since Ostrander’s run and Rob Williams continually shows that he does understand the foundations of what makes this series tick. Rustam was a perfect antagonist because he ties into the Squad history and is such a tragic, empathetic character, so much so that his arc in this story absolutely reflects that. This issue may have been light on the interpersonal moments between the squad members, but it definitely had emotional weight to it. There are certain lines of dialogue that are just pitch-perfect (especially Amanda Waller) and shake one’s emotional core. After burning the house down, Williams sets the stage for an even more intriguing and, dare I say, super arc for the vicious team to be thrust into.
This final chapter also ends John Romita Jr.’s art run on the book. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been Romita’s best work. Whether it’s just his pencils or a blend of the of the inks and colors highlighting the rough work is unclear, but, in comparison to his recent work on The Dark Knight: The Last Crusade, these illustrations just seem rushed with character representations and forms that are inconsistent. Most of the panels depicting the final fight have little to no backgrounds to give the images depth. Just lackluster all around.
Now, Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira and Adriano Lucas’ work is a whole other story! They’ve been handling the art duties on the back-up stories for this arc and these talented folks have proven they deserve to be the main artists on this book. Barrows pencils the characters with such detail and accuracy. Their facial expressions are natural, which works well to ground these dastardly individuals and allow readers to really connect with them. The page layouts are dynamic and varied, presenting unique interpretations of Williams’ writing. Ferreira and Lucas’ inking and color work, respectively, gives the artwork the depth and powerful touch that the main story was lacking. They are able to showcase their talents by really using shadows/shading to full atmospheric effect and contrasting monochrome pages with gorgeous vibrant ones. They are an amazing eight pages. Rob Williams’ dialogue actually feels enhanced by the work.
Aside from some issues on the primary artwork, this was another strong installment in Williams’ run. It’s well worth the time to catch up or just read this storyline. The squad is still a hot property since the film, but the creative team doesn’t glamorize these character; they’re the alternative to or subversion of the superhero (although that does blur at times). The creative team may not have bomb implants in their brains, but let’s hope they stay on this great collision course that is Suicide Squad.