Action Turns Tedious in An Overstuffed Crossover

Event comics can be interesting things, especially when they themselves are the product of larger, previous events and that’s the case with War for Earth-3. The story that explodes onto the pages of this first of two issues has been simmering since Future State: Suicide Squad with the Suicide Squad’s Amanda Waller attempting to gain power in an alternate universe. But while Waller has some big plans that involve the brutal Crime Syndicate of Earth-3 and the idea of ​​a rogue team of ex-Squad members coming together to take Waller down seems like a recipe for a wild, violent adventure, War for Earth-3 #1 shakes out to be a slightly overstuffed issue that relies on the reader being extremely up-to-speed on a lot of previous history in order to make sense of it all.

If action is something that you crave, War for Earth-3 #1 has it in spades. The issue starts off strong with Waller leading her assault on Earth-3; her multiversal Squad in tow steps right up and challenges the Crime Syndicate on their home turf. It’s a ballsy move on the part of the characters and one of the things that is outstanding from the jump is how writers Dennis Hopeless and Robbie Thompson just nail the dynamics. Waller and her team have an authentic and distinct dynamic as does the Syndicate, particularly the dynamic between Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman. The art is solid as well, something that carries throughout the issue, which is impressive given that there are three artists involved – Steve Pugh, Dexter Soy, and Brent Peeples.

At the same time Waller is causing chaos on Earth-3, Rick Flagg and his Squad are dealing with a multiversal Clayface and while the action in this part of the issue is solid again, it’s this part of the story where the seams really show. Flagg’s part of the narrative feels a bit too much like a long epilogue or companion to Suicide Squad #12 and while that is fine if you’re up to date on that title, if you haven’t been paying all that close of attention, the gear shift between Waller on Earth-3 and Flag on Earth-0 is disorienting. The Earth-3 component of things at least is structured in a way that the reader has a sense for the aspects of the story they may not be familiar with. That’s less true for Flagg’s portion and when the book starts bouncing back and forth between the two narratives which do have different art styles, it makes it a little muddled and hard to follow. There’s just a ton of action and precious little time and space to make sense of it.

War for Earth-3 #1 is a decent enough book. There’s plenty of action, a lot of interesting payoffs for those who have been following Suicide Squad, and it’s just removed enough from the “main” continuity that there’s space for pretty much anything to happen. But with the hard shifts between narratives, and a sort of “drop in” feeling, the issue can be disorienting and requires an adjustment that detracts from the overall fun of events. Hopefully, those things can be tightened up before the main event sets off.

Published by DC Comics

On March 1, 2022

Written by Dennis Hopeless and Robbie Thompson

Art by Steve Pugh, Dexter Soy, and Brent Peeples

Colors by Matt Herms

Letters by Josh Reed, Travis Lanham, and Simon Bowland

Cover by Rafa Sandoval and Alex Sinclair

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Andrew Naughtie

News reporter and author at @websalespromo