Review: Suicide Squad Vol. 7: Drain the Swamp trade paperback (DC Comics)

December 12, 2018

 ·  2 comments

We know now that Rob Williams' Rebirth Suicide Squad will end with issue #50, though that still leaves two more volumes (plus or minus a crossover trade), and with one of those not scheduled until August 2019, it feels as though Williams' Suicide Squad will be around for a while yet. Still, Suicide Squad Vol. 7: Drain the Swamp does seem like the beginning of the end, resolving some of this series' earliest storylines.

Much of what is here feels done already — it seems the government is always trying to shut Amanda Waller's Task Force X down, it seems Waller is always yelling at someone how no one can make the hard decisions but her. Indeed, even the repetitious nature of the book's two main stories is unusual. But Williams has written a consistently good Suicide Squad for a while now, the characters real and lived in despite their often-buffoonish nature, a tough thing to do. Swamp is another fine addition, its lapses significantly smoothed over by the knowledge that Williams' Suicide Squad is now a finite commodity.

[Review contains spoilers]

I'd heard some rumblings online about Suicide Squad's "The Chosen One" story, going on too long or swinging a bit too silly or the like, and I'd worried it meant a dip in quality for Williams' book. Fortunately, I found here that "Chosen One" is a two-part guest-shot written by Si Spurrier, so the fact that it is too silly and goes on too long are both forgivable since we still also get six issues of Williams' Squad. The "everyman/cannon fodder" view of the Squad is fine, with a good twist ending, but the fourth-wall-breaking narration gets laborious, and ultimately this was a story that needed brevity, not a cliffhanger and a whole second set-up. Given that the art elsewhere in the book is generally unremarkable, it seems a waste to use Fernando Pasarin here on a guest-spot instead of the main material.

Among new characters introduced early in Williams' Suicide Squad run was young techno-empath (and Harley Quinn fangirl) Hack, later mysteriously murdered — by, we subsequently found out, Captain Boomerang. Among plots that've bobbed and weaved through this series, Hack's murder has been a big one, factoring in to Amanda Waller's fight against "the People" and also causing significant character turns for Harley and Boomerang. We've known for a little while that Hack had returned, but here she finally takes her vengeance.

That vengeance comes in the form of two successive stories, "Drain the Swamp" and "Shock and Awe." These also suffer from just a slight bit of drag given that Hack is seemingly defeated in "Swamp," but then continues her fight in "Shock," and while the antagonist in "Shock" is clearly also Hack, it takes the characters a smidgen too much time to catch up. All the better, perhaps, not to act like the audience was going to be fooled and make it all just "Drain the Swamp." On the other hand, the two stories do have separate, character-based focuses that support their separation — one seeing Hack take revenge on the Squad, the other seeing Hack take revenge specifically on Waller.

Another early revelation of Williams' was that this Waller has children, even a pregnant daughter, from whom she's estranged; the irony of tough-as-nails Waller, who rules Task Force X with an iron fist, being at a loss with and even shunned by her family has been a strong part of Williams' character-building. Here, new grandmother Waller has to choose between protecting her family or letting Hack reveal the Squad's existence to the world, and in a move that seems uncharacteristic for Waller, she chooses her family (and lucks out on the Squad's cover not being blown). Some other writer will assuredly roll Waller's growth back, but at the moment Williams appears to have brought the character full circle enough that one can't help but sense the conclusion.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Suicide Squad Vol. 7: Drain the Swamp

Again, following Suicide Squad Vol. 7: Drain the Swamp, Rob Williams' next volume of Suicide Squad isn't out until August 2019, an astounding wait given how quickly the Rebirth books came out in the beginning. That collects issues #41-44 and an annual. After that is Squad's crossover with Dan Abnett's Aquaman, "Sink Atlantis," which involves Squad issues #45-46, though that collection comes out in February, mapping more to the Aquaman releases (not for nothing) than Squad's. In other words, it's a shorter wait if one wants to read Williams' Suicide Squad out of order, a longer wait if one does not. Volume 9 isn't scheduled yet, but hopefully we see it before the end of next year; for a series that's cancelled, having to wait until 2020 to finish reading it seems rather much.

[Includes original and variant covers; character, layout, and cover sketches]

Summary
Review Date
Reviewed Item
Suicide Squad Vol. 7: Drain the Swamp
Author Rating
4 (scale of 1 to 5)

Comments ( 2 )

  1. It was very recently that they postponed Vol. 8 until August 2019, and I think this could mean they're adding issues #47-50 to it and making it the last one.

    "Drain the Swamp" was the last really big arc Williams wrote for this series, and I think it could have very well been the end of his run, but there's still some good stuff coming up, and I hope he sticks the landing with issue #50. Come to think of it, I'm surprised DC has yet to announce the inevitable relaunch, plus who's working on it. Here's hoping the Azzarello rumor is true.

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    Replies
    1. Williams had a Facebook post recently regarding finishing the 50th issue of Suicide Squad and how possibly he'd written the most continuous Suicide Squad stories outside John Ostrander. Good on him; I can say for Rebirth, the long comparative runs of Tom King, Robert Venditti, Rob Williams, even Joshua Williamson are a credit to these writers when so often the New 52 was plagued with shorter stints.

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