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Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

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Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby LOLtron » Wed Nov 20, 2013 1:30 pm

Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Suicide Risk isn't about the super powers; at least, it won’t be about super powers for much longer.



Source: Suicide Risk

Suicide Risk is ranked high on my personal pull list, and it’s one of my favorite recommendations for non-big two titles. Unfortunately, what makes me so excited is precisely what makes this a difficult book to just jump into: each issue builds on the previous, creating a rewarding contextual web for the attentive reader, but a disappointing stand-alone for the new-comer.

To be honest, I picked up Suicide Risk because of my familiarity with author Mike Carey, not because the premise was interesting to me. His impressive resume (which includes the Sandman spin-off series Lucifer, long runs on Hellblazer and X-Men, and the Vertigo ongoing The Unwritten) should be enough to warrant a quick review. Uhh...This isn't going to be quick though. Apologies in advance. 

What I love about Mike Carey’s storytelling is that he creates a sense of a world and a story larger than the page you’re reading by making connections between different story elements and issues within the series. What may appear to be a digression is usually brought full circle with enviable efficiency. While the literal plots sometimes seem unremarkable, there are always additional thematic levels, frequently encompassing issues like free will, the defining sources of virtue and morality, or the power of narrative in society. Overall, I would summarize Mike Carey as an author who is always writing on two levels. At least.

So based on this opinion of Carey’s existing work, I started reading this book. On first inspection, I found the art in the majority of the issues, provided by Elena Casagrande with Andrew Elder on colors, good but not exceptional, and certainly not distracting from the narrative. While reading, the staging and the panel layouts became slaves to the story, really supporting the pacing of the script.

After reading, I found that the grounded, relatively mundane artwork is what makes the story all the more subversive, the artwork seems straightforward so it’s a surprising contrast when the story goes someplace fanciful or unexpected. Matter-of-fact is probably a good description of what Casagrande has put together to complement Carey’s story. Most importantly, she’s getting better. In issue 7, the clairvoyant Christina is drawn with a subtlety to her expression that brought crucial emotional ambiguity to her scenes.

Issue 5 was a standalone introducing a tangential character, with art done in a compatible, but more dramatic style by Joelle Jones paired well with Emilio Lopez on colors. I hope that we continue to see visiting work from this pair on the side.

Nominally, Suicide Risk is about a California cop named Leo, combating new super villains who are buying their powers, back-alley-drug-deal-style with something called a ‘p-wand.’ Seriously? Intrigued and possibly manipulated into investigating further, Leo gets his own super powers. Yeah, not surprised. The next issues follow Leo as he tracks down a team of bad guys who hurt his partner, and learns more about how to use his super powers. Yawn.

By the end of issue 7, some villains have kidnapped Leo and coerced him into helping with a coup d’état; leaving the bad guys in control over the Yucatan in Central America. Many of the secondary characters have hints of interesting powers and backgrounds, but at this point everyone remains severely under-developed and suspiciously one dimensional. On an issue by issue, plot based assessment, this book is mediocre.

But Suicide Risk is not about the super powers; at least, it won’t be much longer. Carey was already planting the seeds of something bigger back in the first issue, when Leo’s father in law insists “Even the ones who start out good don’t stay that way. The Karma Commander. Diva. Sainted Sam. They turned villain almost overnight. Why is that?”

Along with his new super powers, Leo gets new dreams of a tattoo faced woman who worships a two-faced goddess. In these dreams, he is Requiem and his waking life is the dream. Now, when Leo runs into super powered adversaries in real life, they address him, with familiarity and reverence, as Requiem. How could they know?

Whoosh, this isn't radioactive sludge or latent mutation, these characters are having previous lives and memories restored, from where? A distant past, another planet, it’s remained somewhat ambiguous until Leo’s daughter tears a portal into another dimension with a green sun. This scene in issue 7 not only hints at the source of the invasion, but is also a startling revelation that someone has gained super powers without access to a p-wand. 

Suicide Risk has room to become one of those comics where you turn the page and just drop the book, or maybe throw it across the room. If past performance is any indication, Mike Carey can deliver on this potential, no worries. 



Written or Contributed by Amanda Comi




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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby Chessack » Wed Nov 20, 2013 2:54 pm

You have intrigued me, sir. Next time I make a big Comixology purchase I will pick up the first couple of issues.

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby hermitiancat » Wed Nov 20, 2013 9:43 pm

Chessack wrote:You have intrigued me, sir. Next time I make a big Comixology purchase I will pick up the first couple of issues.


AWESOME!!! I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby Chessack » Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:04 pm

I bought issues 1-3 tonight. I am probably going to save it for reading next week when I am at my mother's for the holiday. I will let you know.

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby Chessack » Sun Dec 01, 2013 8:24 am

OK.

I have now read issues 1-2 of this series. I have #3 already on my tablet to read tonight. I will almost certainly buy the remaining 4 (so far) in the next week or two.

I have to say this series is awesome so far. I am enjoying both the story and the art. The world the creators have built is outstanding. This series has something so many of DC's titles these days sorely lack: verisimilitude. It also has a very strong supporting cast even on issue 2 (the wife, the kids, the fellow cops -- hell even the first villain has a secret ID of sorts, a girlfriend, a life outside of being a criminal) -- also something the New 52 series generally lack. But probably most significantly, the main characters are realistic while at the same time being eminently likable. Having these individual characteristics (verisimilitude, developed supporting cast, and likable main characters) is rare enough, but one almost never finds them in the same series anymore. Yet, here we have them all in one place.

I am definitely liking this so far, as you can tell. Thanks for the rec!

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby syxxpakk » Sun Dec 01, 2013 2:21 pm

:lol: So ridiculous.

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby Chessack » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:05 am

I've read through issue #7 now, and I have #8, and I have asked the comic shop to put it on my pull list.

This series is absolutely fantastic. The writing is stellar. The plotting is exceptional. The characters are interesting. There is a great supporting cast, which is rare when you have a book about multiple main super-characters. And the premise really surprised me.

It has been a very, very long time since I was truly surprised in a comic-book about superheroes. I have to give it to the creative team. They are kicking ass. Suicide Risk is now at the top of my "must read" list along with Astro City and Lazarus. That is some rarified company.

Thanks again for reviewing it. I never would have noticed or tried it otherwise.

Now to get my other comic-book buddy to read it. He is surprisingly intractable about trying new series sometimes -- which is annoying given how he's gotten me reading a bunch of good ones like Astro City over the years and should know by now we have similar tastes. ;)

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby syxxpakk » Sat Dec 14, 2013 10:17 am

A much better review.

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby hermitiancat » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:07 pm

Chessack wrote:Now to get my other comic-book buddy to read it. He is surprisingly intractable about trying new series sometimes -- which is annoying given how he's gotten me reading a bunch of good ones like Astro City over the years and should know by now we have similar tastes. ;)


I'm, uhhh...tractable? ... Please return the favor and recommend something for me to try!

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby Chessack » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:23 pm

You mean other than Suicide Risk?

I can recommend several series. Probably the best other than Astro City would be Lazarus, right now. Alex+Ada is good so far but is very new (2 issues) so it's hard to recommend it. Ghosted is also good but not as good as Suicide Risk or Lazarus. Gail Simone's take on Red Sonja is interesting so far.

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby S.F. Jude Terror » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:29 pm

Chessack wrote:You mean other than Suicide Risk?

I can recommend several series. Probably the best other than Astro City would be Lazarus, right now. Alex+Ada is good so far but is very new (2 issues) so it's hard to recommend it. Ghosted is also good but not as good as Suicide Risk or Lazarus. Gail Simone's take on Red Sonja is interesting so far.


Amanda reviewed Alex + Ada too. :-D

http://www.theouthousers.com/index.php/ ... a-1-3.html
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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby hermitiancat » Mon Dec 16, 2013 8:35 pm

I'm writing up a review for Alex + Ada #2 right now!

I've been holding off on Lazarus for no real reason besides being busy and stubborn. I will give Chessack 100% of the credit when I fall in love with that book.

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Re: Suicide Risk: Not a Risky Read!

Postby Chessack » Mon Dec 16, 2013 10:07 pm

A+A is great so far.

Lazarus is, of course, nothing like these other series but it is very well written.

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