"Suicide Squad" #30 is the last issue in the series -- unless you count "New Suicide Squad" #1 just around the corner. With "New Suicide Squad" writer Sean Ryan also writing "Suicide Squad" #30, this is almost an issue #0 as he deals with the aftermath of "Forever Evil" even while he sets up the new series that's soon to follow. And so far, it's off to a reasonable start.
Some parts of "Suicide Squad" #30 are clearly developments that Ryan was handed. The wreckage from "Forever Evil," for instance, and the mess that's been made in recent issues. And on some level, Ryan is given room to wrap up the series. But don't let the cover fool you; half of the cast has already been swept under the rug, pushed off to one side so that the new characters can be brought in.
Still, those who read issues #0-29 will see some familiar faces. Amanda Waller's new position within Task Force X and A.R.G.U.S. is heavily altered here, a strange mixture of punishment and reward for what worked and what didn't. It's a story with a heavily dejected Waller, one stripped of most of her power and ultimately walking with her head held low. Of course, if you've ever read a comic with Amanda Waller before, it seems almost inevitable that she won't stay that way for too long.
The bigger focus is on two of the stars of the upcoming "New Suicide Squad," namely Deadshot and Black Manta. Ryan is playing Deadshot as the, "Been there, done that" old hand of the Squad, and it's a perfect position for him. His blasé responses to the newbies who are ready to break out are amusing, without giving up the ruthless nature that is Deadshot. This is a character who's been around the block and knows when it's best to just hang tight. Black Manta as someone who can't adjust to life on the outside free of his goal to destroy Aquaman feels a little problematic, though, perhaps because this isn't someone who's been hunting Aquaman for quite that long a time. It's a definite drawback to the shortened timeline of the rebooted DC Universe; this feels like a development that would have worked better in the previous incarnation of the line.
Andre Coelho and Scott Hanna step in on art duties to wrap up the series, and the book looks perfectly fine. The steely-eyed gaze of Black Manta on the final panel of the comic is strong, for instance; that almost-smile on his face as he prepares for his new life is a little chilling. And likewise, the dejection on Waller's face as she slides into her chair in the final scene is the most beaten down I think we've seen the character so far. There's a lot of finger pointing in this issue though -- every time you turn around that index finger appears to be out -- and it's a very strange visual crutch that starts to feel a little tired by the fifth or sixth time. While Coelho isn't penciling the new series (that's going to new talent Jeremy Roberts), he'd certainly be a good fill-in artist if the book needs it.
"Suicide Squad" #30 says goodbye to the old Squad, even as it prepares to greet the new Squad. It's a good enough lead-in to "New Suicide Squad" #1 that I'll definitely take a look at it come July. It's a shame that "Suicide Squad" wasn't able to wrap up with a bang, though. This is really more epilogue than finale.