Let’s get this out-of-the-way first. The artwork in this issue is the best of Fabok’s amazing career. This is his submission for artist of the year; maybe even the decade. You cannot find a single panel in this issue that is not breathtaking in its style and execution. Fabok and the rest of the art team on this title could stay together for the rest of their lives, create whatever they want, and the comic buying world will beat their doors down to buy it.
Now as much praise as I piled on the art side of this comic there isn’t the same to be said for the writing. Don’t get me wrong, Joshua Williamson is one of my favorite writers. His work on Nailbiter and Flash is top-notch, but he is thrown to the wolves with this storyline. DC editorial I’m sure demanded that this project not shortchange or hurt either creative property as Suicide Squad is coming off their summer cinematic release and JLA is heading into their movie filled year.
Williamson is being forced to walk a tight rope between the two teams. He is not able to really up the stakes in a meaningful way. Making anyone look bad in this title could have the potential to hinder outside sales and we wouldn’t want the bottom line affected now would we? This leaves Williamson hand cuffed in what he can and can’t do. It should come as no surprise that he has reached for the tried and true comic plot given his situation.
The teams meet.
The teams fight.
The teams come to an understanding that there is a third, more threating team/character.
The teams unite to defeat the new threat.
Comic fans have seen this recipe in every team up since the dawn of team-ups. It’s going to be paint by numbers as the third group was introduced in the final pages of the first issue. This is the nod to the readers of “Ok, these two teams might hate each other, but here is someone who they hate even more.” Now it’s just a matter of waiting for the drama to play out.
If this book was paired with any other creative team this would be a middle of the road title at best, but because Fabok and company are delivering the work of their lives on this title it will garner big attention. I just wish that DC would back off and let Williamson cut loose. Throw in some curves, he has done it masterfully before. (Again, Nailbiter… read it) There is nothing but potential in this title, but knowing how DC’s marketing and editorial department likes to work … the only thing fans can do is sit back and see just how much of that potential is going to be squandered. At least we get pretty pictures to look at while the story goes to code.
Final Grade: 3 ½ Stars
Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #1
Story: Joshua Williamson
Art: Jason Fabok
Colors: Alex Sinclair
Letters: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics