Writer: Keith Giffen
Artists: Paco Medina (p), Joe Sanchez (i)
The book opens with Modem, the Squad's computer expert, discovering that the program's files have been compromised by an outside party, and we then look in on the most likely suspect, as we see the Jihad, a group of super-powered terrorists that have run up against the Squad in the past, are back in operation. We then get a quick look at this group's new membership, which includes the team's original leader Rustam, a warrior woman named Tolteca, a speedster named Antiphon, a hulking creature named Hyve that is able to split up into smaller versions of itself, and a computerized entity named Digital Djinn. We then follow this group as they make their way to America, where they target the support crew of the Squad, with Modem being the first to learn that the Squad is under attack, as Digital Djinn emerges out of his computer. We then look in on Bulldozer as he finds himself facing the army that is Hyve, while Frank Rock and Havana encounter Tolteca & Antiphon, while out for a jog in the park. The issue then ends with Amanda Waller getting a visit from Rustam, and needless to say she's not happy to see him.
Well I guess the phrase better late than never springs to mind after reading this issue, as while I'm sure newer readers might be a bit lost by some elements of this story, fans of the original series are likely to be quite happy to see the return of a newly formed version of the group Jihad (though in light of recent world events I'm fairly certain they won't be referred to by this name). Now the group that Keith Giffen introduces in this issue looks to be made up of mostly new members, which stand to reason as the original group was effectively killed off during their encounters with the Squad. This issue also gives us a pretty good look at these new characters, as we see them tear into the support staff of the new Squad. Plus, in fine Squad tradition there's a fairly shocking death in this issue, and the cliffhanger sets up what should be a fairly memorable final issue next month. In the end this is an issue that should excite the readers of the original book as it does play upon a plot thread from that series, but it's still fairly accessible to the newer readers, as the villains introduced in this issue are almost all entirely new creations.
Since most of the issue is devoted to this task I guess I should comment on the new villains this issue introduces us to, as the only surviving member of the original Jihad looks to be it's leader Rustam, who appears to have survived his encounter with Rick Flag. There's also a version of the digitized member, who went by the name Djinn in Jihad's first appearance, so while it looks to be a new creation, it does have ties to the original group, though this new version seems a great deal more vicious. Tolteca looks to be your standard typical warrior woman character, and her brief appearance in this issue does little to make me believe otherwise. Antiphon's powers look to be much like original member Jaculi's ability to exhibit brief bursts of super-speed, but I could be wrong about this as the art doesn't present his power all that clearly. Last but not least, Hyve looks like he'll be a formidable opponent, with his ability to split into an army of miniature version of himself. In fact, this character is the one that I'm looking forward to seeing in action, as I've always found the multiplying power always seems to provide an engaging battle.
Paco Medina has an interesting style, but the more I see of it the more I'm convinced that he's simply a bad fit for this book. However, since the book is slated to end next issue, this is a rather pointless conclusion to arrive at, as we're not likely to see a new artist on the last issue next month. So instead I'm going to use this column for a more constructive propose, by commenting on the elements of his art that I do like. I like the visual design of the character Hyve, as his ability to split off into several smaller versions of himself is nicely presented, with the scene of the football field being especially amusing. This issue also offers up a fairly shocking death scene as we see the Digital Djinn reach out to snuff out a fairly key person of the Squad's support crew, and the art handles the abrupt nature of this death quite nicely. Now Bulldozer's escape was a bit silly looking, but truth be told I don't think any artist could made this scene play deadly serious, so I'll simply admire the camp factor of this encounter. The art also delivers a nicely harrowing final shot, as we see Amanda Waller discovers she has an unexpected visitor.
An issue that is likely to appeal to the fans of the original series, as except for Amanda Waller & Deadshot this new series hasn't really drawn upon much from the first series. This issue brings back the Jihad, who were about the only group of villains that the Squad could claim as regular opponents, as if memory serves they are the only opponents that squared off against the Squad more than once. In any event, this issue basically sets up what looks to be the big sendoff that we'll be getting next month, as the Squad's support staff are pretty much taken completely out of the picture, and if the cover to this issue is any indication, the Squad is going to be hard-pressed to match the power of the new reformed Jihad. For newer readers this issue might be a bit confusing, but this issue still features some fairly intense action that involves the support crew of the Squad, and most of these villains are new creations, so longtime readers are in the same boat as the new readers.
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