NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for “Suicide Squad” #6
Where Superman may be judged by how heroic his stories seem, and Batman by how pained or tormented his path to victory, the Suicide Squad is typically measured by its level of insanity, inventiveness, and all out dismissal of the status quo. The company wide relaunch known as the DC Rebirth is no exception, with the brand new Squad’s first mission into the field already one for the history books. Coming toe to toe with General Zod himself and living to tell the tale (well, most of them anyway) is a feat in itself, but the insanity was only beginning… literally.
After concluding Issue #5 on a cliffhanger, as Rick Flag had reached his breaking point and attempted to put a bullet in Amanda Waller’s head, his actual reasons for doing so were revealed. An outbreak of insanity is striking Belle Reve, and for Harley Quinn, the inversion of mental health means that Dr. Harleen Quinzel has returned… and may be the only one capable of saving the day.
The Black Vault Comes To Belle Reve
To catch casual fans or lapsed readers up to speed, the first storyline in “Suicide Squad” post-Rebirth has hinged on an item known as The Black Vault, originally thought to be a gateway into the Phantom Zone being researched in an underground– underwater facility by the Russian government. The Squad broke in to capture it without knowing just what they were after – and when an oversized General Zod emerged from within the structure, he made them pay instantly. Having killed Captain Boomerang instantly, it was only Katana’s magical sword that stopped him, pierced straight through his chest.
Having only subdued the crazed Kryptonian, the team was able to return him to The Black Vault, and transport it to Belle Reve for further study. In Issue #6, the research is well under way, with the specialists still unsure of just what The Black Vault actually is, or why it magnified Zod’s size when he earlier escaped.
The more important side effect? Power outages,prison systems failing, and the fact that everyone in the immediate vicinity is suddenly overcome with a desire to kill everyone around them. That includes the voices within Katana’s blade, leading to a total prison riot that General Zod is guaranteed to barge in on at any second… unless Harley Quinn’s reaction to the poisoning is any indication.
Dr. Quinzel is Back on Call
We still have no idea who or what is behind The Black Vault, Zod’s appearance, or the strange voices “singing” to those who will hear it. But if sane is the opposite of insane, and the mystery device is able to turn everyone into a homicidal ball of rage, Harley Quinn as never going to get more crazy. Instead, she realizes that a funny feeling is taking hold just as others are losing control. Pulling her glasses and lab coat out of storage, Harley Quinn comes to the realization that she has been cured, and is suddenly in a situation where successful diagnoses could mean the difference between life and death.
She may not have much time to assemble a plan of action or antidote, since the issue concludes with another Squad member just seconds away from dropping Harley for good. But is Harley able to turn the tables, or has she traded for her returned sanity in exchange for her potency as a criminal and Squad member? Most importantly, how is she going to finally stop The Black Vault’s assault?
There’s no telling what Harley Quinn can do now that her intellect has returned, but readers won’t have to wait long. And who know: maybe a trip back to the sane side of things could help Harley’s own comic arcs break new ground. We only have to wait and see.
“Suicide Squad” #6 is available now.