By Juan Calvillo
“Peacemaker” on HBOMAX is one of the best comic book series to date, mixing comedy, action and drama all in one hard to beat first season.
This series is a spinoff from the 2021 action comedy “The Suicide Squad” which told the story of a group of super villains who save the world. “Peacemaker” is eight episodes of a story that is focused on the titular super villain trying to make up for some of his more sordid past by once again trying to save the world.
The series starts sometime after the events of “The Suicide Squad” with Christopher Smith AKA Peacemaker, played by John Cena, being recruited once again by a team under the oversight of Amanda Waller’s secret government group.
From there, the team fights crazed kung fu fighters, Ku Klux Klan members and each other, all while trying to stop an imminent end for humanity. There are explosions, comedy bits and of course, tons of over-the-top deaths and vulgarity. All of this makes for a fun first season outing.
While Cena is the main character of the series, the rest of the team is made up of a great group. Part of the team is made up by two characters returning from “The Suicide Squad,” Emilia Harcourt, played by Jennifer Holland, and John Economos, played by Steve Agee. Clemson Murn, played by Chukwudi Iwuji, Leota Adebayo, played by Danielle Brooks, and Adrian Chase who is the secret identity of the anti-hero Vigilante, played by Freddie Stroma, round out Peacemaker’s secret team.
While the villains of “Peacemaker” are a diverse set of big bads, there is one that needs to be mentioned. Peacemaker’s father, Auggie Smith, played by an intimidating and intense Robert Patrick, is the highlight of the bad guys. Smith, who’s super villain name is White Dragon, is the de facto leader of a group made up of white supremacists and KKK members.
Both Patrick’s and Cena’s characters get a ton of backstory in the series. The interaction between the two characters is tense and fraught with a love-hate feeling. There’s also an interesting thread that was not resolved at the end of the season that begs for further exploration.
Watching Cena act in this is surprising and quite fulfilling. While he has always been good at showing his comedic chops, it’s the moments he takes a dramatic turn that are impressive. The character of Peacemaker in “The Suicide Squad” was a bit one-note, but in this series writer director James Gunn really shows the psychology and psycho that inhabit the main character.
The big draw of course is the action in this series. There’s tons of fist fights and shootings. The mix of action with small moments of both drama or comedy are all part of Gunn’s style. A great example is toward the end of a larger fight where Peacemaker decides to use an explosive instead of guns. It’s the reaction of the characters around him that make the moment so very fun.
All eight episodes of the first season of “Peacemaker” are streaming now on HBOMAX. Season two has already been greenlit for filming. “Peacemaker” is rated TV-MA for sex and nudity, violence and gore, profanity, alcohol, drugs and smoking, frightening and intense scenes.