British writer Rob Williams will handle writing duties on the series, with artist Phillip Tan drawing the “Rebirth” issue. After the “Rebirth” issue, DC Comics co-publisher and fan-favorite artist Jim Lee will draw at least the first three issues of the series, with DC planning for each issue to also contain a backstory drawn by guest artists.
Williams said that both the movie and DC’s current “Rebirth” era — a company-wide reboot with an emphasis on returning to the basics of what made their characters work best — makes now the perfect time to re-imagine the “Suicide Squad” brand in the comics.
The company wants to “really make this issue a jumping on point for people who might be curious, who may be aware of the characters for the first time with the movie perhaps, and they want to jump in,” Williams told The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “As well as telling a compelling adventure with action and humor, we also want to try and spell out what the Suicide Squad is and who these people are.”
In the Suicide Squad “Rebirth” issue, Williams sends the rogue team on a mission against a terrorist group armed with “meta-bombs,” devices that upon detonation take away the powers of super-beings and give powers to regular people. It’s the type of no-win situation Williams said readers should expect the Suicide Squad to be in frequently.
“The reason why [Suicide Squad leader] Amanda Waller and the American government send these villains [into these missions] is because it doesn’t matter if they don’t come back and half the time they’re not expected to come back,” Williams said. “These characters are the underdogs. They’re the mongrels. Your Supermans and your Batmans are the pedigrees of the DCU [DC Comics universe]. The Suicide Squad are very much running around with their nose in the garbage. So, hopefully, we make it easy for readers to root for these guys. As reprehensible as they sometimes are, they’re also sometimes funny and they reflect the worst aspects in all of us.”
Williams begins the Suicide Squad “Rebirth” issue with Amanda Waller having a serious talk with President Obama, who appears in DC Comics titles on occasion. Obama is convinced the Suicide Squad should not exist.
“She’s definitely one of the DC universe’s major power players,” Williams said of Waller. “What’s fantastic about Amanda Waller is that she’s got no superpowers, and she’s in charge of the worst villains of the DC universe, and she manipulates them by force of will and intellect alone. She’s an extremely formidable character. You’re going to see as our main story goes on, she’s going to make decisions that are going to have a major effect on the DC world.”
Lee’s involvement with art is somewhat of a surprise given how busy his duties as DC co-publisher keep him, but Williams said the Suicide Squad series is something Lee insisted he wanted to be a part of.
“[Jim Lee] certainly [has] enough on his plate, but he wanted to do this book,” Williams said. “He was excited about the characters and he said he wanted to take a Suicide Squad book off of his [artistic] bucket list. And we’re certainly delighted that he’s done that.”
The Suicide Squad “Rebirth” issue will feature appearances from Rick Flag, Harley Quinn, Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, all of whom appear in the upcoming movie. But not everyone on the big screen will make it to the comic-book series at first. Williams hints to a roster in flux.
“The nicer thing about Belle Reve, the prison where the Suicide Squad base of operations is, there’s all kinds of villains from the DC universe in there, and we can pick and choose any of them for individual stories,” Williams said.
Williams said the roster will also include a surprising addition.
“It’s someone big from the DCU that you would never expect to be a part of the Suicide Squad,” Williams hinted. “The inclusion of this individual is going to change the story and then really drive our first arc in a way that’s really going to take the Suicide Squad in unexpected directions.”