Heroes and Villains Take on Max Lord's OSS -- Original Suicide Squad -- in JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD #4

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Justice League vs Suicide Squad 4

Amanda Waller has released the captive Justice League after Batman learns what the Suicide Squad is up against -- Maxwell Lord and the O.S.S. No, they're not the O.S.S. of DC Comics days of yore. I just coined the term to refer to them as the Original Suicide Squad, a team Waller put together in the past and then locked away: Rustam, Doctor Polaris, Johnny Sorrow, Emerald Empress, and the main man himself, Lobo. All of them are under the control of Max Lord, who has taken advantage of their desire for revenge against Amanda Waller so that he can gain control of something that will finally give him what he's always wanted: absolute control.

In the fourth issue of JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD, the O.S.S. have come knocking at Belle Reve, and it is game on from the first panel. We see Rustam's flaming sword do some serious on-panel bodily damage to guards, leading up to the ultimate swordfight between him and Katana. Harley Quinn comes to the defense of Wonder Woman when Johnny Sorrow prepares to unleash his ultimate ability, the revelation of his deadly visage. How does viewing it impact Harley? You have to read it to believe it!

As Cyborg tackles Doctor Polaris and Green Lanterns Simon and Jessica fight the future of the Emerald Empress and the Eye of Ekron -- which is based on future applications of Green Lantern technology -- Batman and Deadshot are hurrying Amanda Waller away from the kill zone, with the Last Czarnian hot on their tails, regenerating from wounds faster than you can say "Bastich." Leave it to Batman to give him something that's going to sting, as well as slow him down.

Amid all this jaw-dropping action, I continue to be left with a question that insists on asking itself every single issue: Of what value is Captain Boomerang? He's comic relief, the butt of the joke, always getting his bacon pulled out of the deep fryer. So what does he actually contribute? How does he rate as a villain? I'm waiting for writer Joshua Williamson to pull a rabbit out of his hat on this one and give us a redeeming Digger Harkness scene, but so far it hasn't happened.

As the battle progresses, Max Lord finds himself a new "willing" accomplice in Caitlin Snow -- Killer Frost -- who helps him to the underground vault where he gets his hands on the thing he's been seeking (which apparently wasn't on the remote island he visited last issue). And when he finally possesses it in the last page of this issue, we're all set up for what the title has been promising all this time: the Justice League vs. the Suicide Squad.

And you'd better all hope the Suicide Squad wins.

Williamson continues to deliver a fast-paced action story that still finds moments for character development and relationship revelations. Fernando Pasarin's artwork is a style consistent with the series, giving the reader detailed draftsmanship while also packing the pages border-to-border with character actions and backgrounds. Week after week, while I find something to pick on with each installment, JUSTICE LEAGUE VS. SUICIDE SQUAD continues to bring it home as the highlight of my Wednesday reading experience.

4.5 / 5.0