So, I was reading that Suicide Squad series for a while there until it got to the War for Earth-3 crossover. That titles was just the bookends, it turns out, to a story that ran through multiple other issues in different series as Amanda Waller’s attempts to put together her own Justice League may finally come to fruition on Earth-3, home of the Crime Syndicate where evil always wins.
I fell off for a while because most of the in-between issues in series like The Flash and Titans Academy were more concerned with whatever those books main plots were and since I wasn’t following any of those, well…
They were mediocre, but that doesn’t mean the last part of the main crossover story has to be.
Issue: War for Earth-3 #2, March 2022
Writers: Robbie Thompson and Dennis Hopeless
Artists: Ariel Olivetti, Kieran McKeown, and Dexter Vines
The Plot: Waller makes her final moves as Rick Flag does his best to bring her down.
Commentary: OK, bottom line: I have no idea how I am supposed to feel about the ending of this series.
Here’s the thing: Waller has been portrayed up until this point as basically a villain. She sent off members of the Suicide Squad to gather her own Justice League, and while she said way back in the first issue of the Suicide Squad series that set up this conclusion that she was tired of watching people under her die on missions, she totally had no problem letting people die on missions to get what she wanted done here. She threatened people, blew a couple heads off, and even used the Lazarus Resin from the Task Force Z series to keep a couple of the dead team members alive and behaving themselves. And she wasn’t above just blowing someone’s head up just to prove a point. It wasn’t that surprising that Rick Flag was able to both A) build a Squad of his own and B) recruit the Titans and Wally West’s Flash to come along and try to stop Waller. Just getting a glimpse of what Waller was up to was enough.
I mean, Waller tried (and failed) to kidnap a kid from Titans Academy to be her Flash. She was not the good guy here.
Or was she?
Here’s the thing: sending a morally ambiguous person like Waller to be the leader of a superhero team (made up of villains) on Earth-3 isn’t a bad way to go. Good guys can’t win on Earth-3. Waller isn’t quite a good guy. She may still not qualify as a bad guy, but she isn’t a good guy. I can go along with that. And Flag, for all his skills, isn’t on Waller’s level when it comes to scheming, and deep down, both he and Waller know that.
That the ultimate bad guy of this issue turns out to be Ultraman, and the combined work of both Waller and Flag’s teams take him down, says quite a bit.
But Waller has a line in about the middle of this issue where she says she doesn’t want to hurt anybody. And to that I say, “Since when?” She had earlier in this very issue blown up a rebellious Squad member’s head just because. She has not been behaving like a person who doesn’t want to hurt anybody because, well, she hurt a whole lot of people in the course of this run, and it wasn’t even because she was given these missions to run. She was running her own thing, and for that, she’s…well, that would be telling, but after all this, this issue tries to play Waller off as a misunderstood good guy or something, and I just wasn’t buying it.
That’s a shame. I was rather enjoying this run. The main series had an issue or two left. I’ll gladly finish those off, but the War for Earth-3 was just kind of a bust.
Better Call Saul “JMM”
Comic Review: Something Is Killing The Children Volume 3
Noteworthy Issues: Unstoppable Doom Patrol #2 (April, 2023)