Justice League vs Suicide Squad #2 deserves some credit for actually delivering on the title concept as early in the miniseries as it does. There are some other events over at other publishers that might draw out a full-bore confrontation for three to five issues (I’m looking at you, Bendis, don’t try to avoid me). Writer Joshua Williamson and penciler Tony S. Daniel are to be congratulated in delivering an action-packed issue that sees these two super-star super-teams in a head to head slugfest that lives up to the hype.
The previous issue saw Batman leading the Justice League to the site of a Suicide Squad mission in order bring them in, launching their first step in trying to uncover Task Force X’s objectives as directed by the manipulative and ruthless Amanda Waller. Meanwhile, Max Lord has assembled a team of own, though he he spends most of the issue standing around and telling them he’s got plans without saying what they are.
And that breaks down the successful and not-so-successful aspects of the issue. Anytime we’re dealing with the straightforward battle between the teams we get fun and exciting classic comic book stuff. Any of the stuff with Max and his team is pretty banal and dull, frankly, little more than overlong exercises in foreshadowing with some shaky art.
The issue is that I’m really getting tired of wheel-spinning scenes that simply check in with a group of characters as they stand around hinting at what they’re going to do without giving us any real new information other than vague details the creative team can’t fully reveal yet. Admittedly this is only three pages out of the whole issue, but they’re pretty clunky pages that feature some oddly sub-par art. There’s a panel that has Max talking to the other characters with his back to them, and with Johnny Sorrow talking but his word balloon isn’t indicating it’s him who’s speaking. Is this supposed to be the reflection in the mirror? If so, it’s doesn’t work or make sense at all.
But, the rest of the issue is all-out action, with the teams facing off and if you thought it unlikely the Squad could conceivably match the League, the creative team takes that into account. The result is an example of overwhelming might vs scrappy heart, with the motivations for each side clearly delineated and well-motivated. Look, their reasons for fighting may not be the most complicated or nuanced in the world, but things don’t wind up being overwrought, contrived or out of character either. It’s the sheer, pure simplicity of Justice League vs Suicide Squad #2 that makes it work on the level of wide-screen spectacle.
After using Jason Fabok for the gorgeous previous issue, Tony S. Daniel handles the pencils for this one, and the result is a bit variable if you ask me. There are a number of pages up to the best of Daniel’s previous work, but there’s also some work that feels rushed and undefined. To be fair, there’s a huge amount of action, characters and backgrounds happening throughout the issue, but the result feels a bit uneven from page to page, with some being stunning and others feeling just a tad unrealized.
“Justice League vs Suicide Squad” promised to be a high-octane slugfest between two of DC’s hottest properties, and in that sense, the second issue doesn’t disappoint at all. With quips and punches galore, it’s old-fashioned team-up even goodness, even if there are some uneven moments. But if you’re looking for action, and can appreciate an event series seemingly unwilling to allow its wheels to spin fro even a second, then Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #2 won’t disappoint. 8/10