Though Father Time stalks us all in anticipation of the inevitable moment when we pass on from this life to the next, that doesn’t stop us from doing everything we can to stave off death as best as we can. In time, everyone makes peace with the fact that they can’t escape death and most people decide to try and make the best of their time. But the heroines in this week’s best comics aren’t content to just wait out the clock until they croak.
Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay
Amanda Waller established her reputation for being a no-nonsense, cutthroat government agent by using her Machiavellian cunning to manipulate people she sees as useful tools to help her achieve her own goals. Often, Waller’s machinations wind up killing the people she pulls into her sphere, something that’s earned her a first class ticket to hell.
In Jeff Parker, Matthew Dow Smith, and Tony Aviña’s Suicide Squad: Hell to Pay, Waller herself is faced with the sort of unenviable challenge that she designed the Suicide Squad to handle. When she begins seeing increasingly-frequent visions of the Spectre, Waller realizes that she’s going to die, soon, and she’s certain that she’s going straight to hell. Never one to just let things play out as they will, Waller sets out to find one of the few magical artifacts left in existence that have the power to save her from damnation, something she’s not too keen on doing given her history working with magic users.
We’re all used to seeing Waller calling the shots and manipulating people like pieces on a chess board and while there’s sure to be plenty of that in the series, Hell to Pay puts her in a position that brings out her lethal survival instincts in a way we don’t see in DC’s comics often enough. (Jeff Parker, Matthew Dow Smith, Tony Aviña, DC Comics)
On a spaceship with 800,000 passers from over 200 different races across the galaxy, you need a crack team of security guards to keep the peace lest the entire vessel descends into chaos and ends up veering into an asteroid field. Yoko Keren is one of the best guards aboard the Infinity 8, a ship making its way towards the Andromeda Galaxy, but she desperately wants out of her job.
Because they’re still a ways away from their final destination, Keren’s devised a plan to work around the system and into an early retirement. Per the Infinity 8's rules, if she were to decide to have a child, she’d be excused from her duties as a guard and be free to begin a new life, albeit with a kid in tow. The problem, though, is that there are only about 1,000 or so human men on the ship and none of them are up to Keren’s genetic standards. So, she decides to broaden her horizons a bit and begins using her access to the ship’s medical records to surreptitiously scan potential sperm donors from the ship’s non-human inhabitants.
Her increasingly frustrating search is interrupted when she’s called by the Infinity 8's captain, a gargantuan telepathic squid with the ability to create rifts in reality, to report for a new assignment. Curiously, the Infinity 8's path is suddenly blocked by a field of debris that’s the size of an entire solar system. Everything in the debris field—satellites, wrecked ships, chunks of destroyed planets—seem to follow an overall theme of death and destruction, something the Captain deems worthy of investigation.
What Keren finds as she ventures out into debris field is inexplicable—the remains of civilizations that shouldn’t be anywhere near one another and the overwhelming presence of decay and death sets of a frenzy within the Infinity 8 that’s more dangerous than anyone can imagine. (Dominique Bertail, Zep, Lewis Trondheim, Lion Forge)