Trying to find a gem with DC’s Rebirth comics is like sticking your hand into a massive bucket of broken glass to pull out a diamond. As the Suicide Squad film arrives in cinemas this week to waves of effluence from critics, DC have launched their Rebirth of Suicide Squad this week and I stick my hand into that bucket of broken glass to see whether I pull out a diamond or not.
The problem here is that Rebirth is supposed to bring back the ‘more hopeful, brighter DC Universe’, yet with a title like Suicide Squad precludes a certain amount of dark so writer Rob Williams and artist Philip Tan have a precarious balancing act to achieve here. Now I liked the 1980’s John Ostrander run on this title a lot, and he managed to walk the tightrope well by throwing in light and shade, plus the title then was used to clean out some Z-List villains. This iteration of the Squad are backed up by Big Screen counterparts, plus they’re not going to kill off money spinners like Harley Quinn and Deadshot so what does this Rebirth actually do?
Well, it throws in an idealised Obama who starts the issue trying to kick Amanda Waller out on her arse but is ended up being convinced of the need of Task Force X, the Suicide Squad not to mention the need for someone to keep the Squad in line. That person being Rick Flag.
It’s actually a pretty good start. There’s nice shades of grey which carries on during the recruitment of Rick Flag, and this revamped Squad’s first mission to save a McGuffin from bad guys.
Surprisingly to me, Suicide Squad: Rebirth isn’t a bad comic, I’d even venture as far as saying I liked it. Yes, it is a bit simplistic, plus Philip Tan’s sub-Jim Lee style (Lee is scheduled to be regular penciller in future issues) grates a tad, but Williams turns in a very good reboot of a team with a complex history but makes it so you could pick this up having never read an issue before and get the concept right away. In effect, this is what Rebirth should be doing.
So I’m pulling my hand out that big bucket of broken glass not with a diamond perhaps, but something a bit less painful than a shard of broken glass.