It seems as if Robbie Thompson has indeed followed up his excellent Future State: Suicide Squad mini-series with a title that seeks to plant the seeds for what we’ve already seen in that event. The question still remains however, if the events of that series are set in stone or if the multi-universal manipulations will cause some other force in the DC Universe to interfere and stop that outcome. It seems like things must change because if they don’t, the Suicide Squad series is pretty much finished at a set point in the future, but I guess that’s just something we’ll have to wait to see. For now, we have the founding of a new Squad and this issue does a good job of following the tried-and-true template of putting a group of non-heroes together.
Peacemaker, a key character in the Future State series, is leading a group into Arkham Asylum to free a villain who is key to Amanda Waller’s plans. William Cobb, The Talon, played the part of a dark Batman character in the Future State series, and is locked up inside the asylum with no memory of his past identity, but Peacemaker and a band of d-list expendable heroes are breaking in to break him out. Unfortunately for them, midway through the capture operation, Arkham comes under a Joker attack and begins to fill with toxic gas, making it clear that not all of the characters are going to be alive at the end of the issue. Meanwhile, Waller is dealing with Colonel Flag who has seen Waller’s plans for “Task Force Z,” the rival Justice League for an alternate Earth (as seen in Future State) and wants to stop Waller from attempting to pull her plan off. We also get a glimpse of another character who will eventually be Waller’s ally in Future State, but his role here is far from trusting of Waller.
It’s odd to read the set-up to a story that has already concluded, but it’s always possible that DC will pull the rug out from under readers when the time comes to make the events of Future State contemporary. I had planned to ignore this series completely based on how terrible last year’s Tom Taylor written series was but based on the strength of Robbie Thompson’s Future State, I decided to give this one a chance. I’m glad I did. Thompson is joined by a new art team of Eduardo Pansica, Julio Ferreira, and Marcelo Maiolo. They create a cleaner overall look than what we saw in the Future State mini, but it works well in the contemporary DCU, especially as characters romp through established locations like Arkham Asylum. Each character is well defined, and you are never left wonder who a character is or which character is talking.
Modern comic book companies have made some terrible decisions in the past decade, alienating readers and driving away the very customers they claimed to be expanding upon. While higher profile characters like Batman and Superman have become unreadable in recent years, it’s nice to see some writers telling classic comic book stories in forgotten corners of the comic book universe.