Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1 Review

Written by: Joshua Williamson

Art by: Jason Fabok

Publisher: DC Comics

Rebirth has been absolutely one of the biggest treats of 2016 for me. I’ve been in love with DC in a way I haven’t been since the new 52 began, and it seems like the hits never stop. Justice League vs. Suicide Squad debuts as exactly the sort of event DC need right now. It comes at just the right time to keep the spotlight on DC, features characters very familiar to fans and newcomers alike, and, most importantly, is a ton of fun that manages to get the hype train safely out of the station.

The first issue provides pretty much exactly what you’d want right out of the gate: There’s the Suicide Squad, the Justice League, and some distinct vs. going on as promised. Unlike other events that do a lot of stage setting in the first issue and leave the big battle to the second, things here movie pretty fast, providing lots of action and fun right out of the gate. The majority of plot involves the Suicide Squad on a mission, setting up the lesser known characters in this conflict quite well and being fun in it’s own right, before setting them straight on a collision course with the Justice League.

It’s exactly the sort of thing you want from a big summer blockbuster, except it’s winter.

Things are told very quickly, with small character synopsis getting people up to speed rather than boring exposition. It’s a quite good example of “show don’t tell” and keeps things light, fast, and fun. Even better, there’s a nice bit of intrigue going on in the book that teases a much bigger conflict that’ll keep fans interested beyond the title bout. While I’m pretty annoyed DC spoiled the twist behind these mystery opponents by revealing the covers of later issues, if you’ve managed to avoid them you should be in for a hugely satisfying shock. It certainly cranked up my interest and makes this event seem like more than just a cash in due to the budding films universe.

This is actually quite a subtle thing I like about the book. Despite seemingly being designed to capitalize on the recent Suicide Squad movie and the upcoming Justice League one, the book doesn’t overall feel as if it’s designed to exploit from this, but rather use recognizable characters to draw people in. The book’s streamlined nature and use of characters from films make it the most open event I’ve read in years. There’s some references to other Rebirth events, but nothing too far gone or obtrusive, while still feeling like it’s building on what we’ve been reading since May. The conflict itself does feels a little forced–I still find it a little hard to believe the title fight is worthy of an event–but as stated, there’s plenty going on in the background to give the event a much bigger scope. It’s recognizable to newcomers while teasing lots for hardcore fans to sink their teeth into (a hard tightrope to walk) but Williamson manages it beautifully.

What definitely adds a level of excitement and scale to this is the return of fan favorite Jason Fabok. To my knowledge he hasn’t been seen since the epic Darkseid War earlier this year, so seeing him draw the Justice League again feels hugely exciting and brings back memories of other big events. Every panel is rendered with perfect cinematic beauty, from the low, mysterious angled shots of the hidden villain, to the big, bombastic action scenes, everything feels cranked to 11, especially for an event that on the surface seemed to me quite small in scale. Fabok absolutely nails the big action splash pages you pay for when it comes to an event book and reminds me why I’ve missed him so much. It’s gorgeous on every front and worthy of an event title.

Overall, I’m very impressed with what DC have managed from the debut of their first big event. It’s reasonably priced, gorgeously drawn, and has a lot of fun and excitement for fans of every level of knowledge. Any doubts I had about the scale of the event seeming small have been mostly dissuaded and made me excited for the series to come. It’s came at just the right time and ends a very successful year for DC with a bang. If you’re at all interested in following the DC Universe then this definitely gets a recommendation. It’s simple popcorn fun with even more promising things to come.