NOTE: This article contains SPOILERS for "Justice League vs. Suicide Squad" #2
The Justice League has faced some memorable villains over the years, with the likes of the Secret Society of Supervillains, the Injustice Society, and the Legion of Doom challenging them in an all-out battle of team vs. team. But if there's one group that actually stands as the true opposite of the League's superheroes, it's probably Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad. Where the League puts its life on the line for the greater good, and a pursuit of justice, the Squad has its life put on the line by force, fighting for... well, no particular reason at all. Which is why DC's "Justice League vs. Suicide Squad" event seemed one to look forward to.
The first issue brought the Squad and the League into conflict: one side looking to apprehend criminals on the loose, the other forced to fight or see their own heads detonated off of their shoulders. Sure, the debut issue also revealed the actual villains of the story, but the follow-up issue mainly focuses on the long awaited skirmish between the two team rosters. The battle takes an unexpected turn, but one thing we can say for certain is that the days of seeing Killer Frost as a second-string villain are over.
Justice League vs. Suicide Squad - Fight!
With Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman demanding that the Squad stand down, completely unaware of the explosive charges in their heads that would be triggered if they did just that, combat was inevitable. And in Issue #2, it doesn't take long for the villains to realize that taking on the League in a frontal assault is a fool's errand. The solution arrived at, like so many other villain teams before (and to the delight of fans) is to divide and conquer - pairing villain with hero to create strange dynamics and strategies.
As the resident sorceress of the group, Enchantress tries her luck against Superman to great success, given his susceptibility to magic AND a sympathetic sob story. Deathstroke and Batman trade bullets and batarangs (obviously), Killer Croc takes Aquaman into the sea, but learns that the Atlantean king's skin is strong enough to crack teeth in half. El Diablo is less than impressed with having to deal with two rookie Green Lanterns (and is doused before he hurts their feelings too badly), Boomerang folds to the Flash for the hundredth time, and Harley Quinn leads Wonder Woman on a merry chase before, inevitably, being brought in.
The only real surprise is Killer Frost - Caitlin Snow, the latest recruit to Task Force X - who manages to get the upper hand on Cyborg, freezing his organic components enough to send him into serious trouble. And at that point, things get interesting.
Killer Frost Finds a New Level
Now, for those unfamiliar with Killer Frost's rich comic book history or superpowers, they can be simplified into two words: Heat Vampire. As in, she must feed on the thermal energy of living things to stay alive, and using her powers to super-cool objects around her increases her need for thermal intake. Her powers are the result of an attempt on her life, and Cyborg is right to point out that her story wasn't that of a villain from the beginning - at one point, she was a dedicated engineer hoping to make the world a better place. He may be right, but her anger and denial are as powerful as her abilities, and as mentioned above, Cyborg gets half-frozen for his compassion.
When her teammates are captured by their victorious sparring partners, and Croc taken out in a massive slam that injures both Superman and Enchantress, Frost is the only one left standing for Waller to bark orders at. With her powers in need of a recharge, Waller reminds Frost that Superman is essentially one big solar battery. In other words, draining thermal energy from him the way she normally would doesn't just reward her with a direct conduit to the sun's energy, but drains Superman's cells of the energy they need to keep him alive and powerful.
As Frost's eyes glow red in response, and Superman begins to shrivel up into a grey husk, Killer Frost obeys the orders being given to her via Waller, and unleashes a new level of her super abilities.
Killer Frost Takes Down The Entire Justice League
The resulting explosion of energy turns the page to complete whiteout, but when the shock wears off, the true carnage is revealed. Every superhuman present, from Aquaman and The Flash down to Croc and Diablo is encased, motionless, in a shockwave of ice. It's an effect that even longtime readers - and Frost herself - didn't know was possible, but prove her story in the "Rebirth" era is just beginning. And unfortunately for our heroes, shutting down the League was only Waller's first step.
When Batman comes to, he find himself restrained in a high-tech cell, placed alongside a variety of others tailor-made to keep the powers of the Justice Leaguers in check. And before they can even begin to formulate their next move, Amanda Waller struts in to give the League the bad news: they're not just captured, but the newest recruits of her infamous Suicide Squad. Whether or not that means she succeeded in implanting explosives in the League's many heads, thereby granting her the authority over their wills and weaponry... remains to be seen.
Either way, fans of Killer Frost just received one of Caitlin Snow's most memorable moments to date. DC has already announced her coming addition to the new Justice League of America, so her highlight reel may just be getting started.
Justice League vs. Suicide Squad #2 is available now.