Suicide Risk is a book I stumbled into blindly. I went in with no premise, no preconception, no notion of where my feet were to fall. I just wanted to read something different, and I suppose in that sense, I succeeded somewhat.
Now, first and foremost, this issue is NOT a jumping on point. I felt like I was dropped off in the middle of nowhere, blindfolded, spun about a thousand times, and then was kindly asked to down a dozen shots of tequila before working out some logical sense of navigation. Just a heads up: this will not happen. You need a bit of prior knowledge to scramble out of the fog.
It is a world of superheroes and villains, and the villains seem to be gaining ground as the world tumbles about in chaos. The empowered seem to have no qualms about exercising and their abilities, and the strong casually prey on the weak. The hero is a cop who now has powers thanks to something called the “P-Wand” (I am not the only one who laughed at that, right?)
So let us start with the art, cobbled together by Elena Casagrande. It might be just the transfer to digital, but the line work is very hazy and foggy, with no apparent purpose. I don’t imagine this is the fault of the artist, but quality of the digital format felt shabby and blurred. [Editor's Note: The digital review copy might not reflect the quality of the versions available for purchase.] Pushing past that, and trying to assume the qualities intended by the artist, Elena seems to have a fun sense of character design and scene development. Sockpuppet, a character capable of separating his soul from his body and possessing others, is a peculiar fusion of steam punk and medieval peasantry. In the character Cage, we have a fantastic image of evil and cruelty that creeps onto the page and is simply startling. The visuals hold some very strong moments, but for every great bit of design, there seems to be two or three that are rather droll. Most characters seem to lack a visual presence or uniqueness. Basic spandex and archetypes run the show, and though I see potential here, Elena seems to pull her punches, adhering mostly to well established poses, and simple, somewhat dull creations. There is also a scene where a man catches fire, and his neck seemingly elongates to ridiculous proportions (but heat does make things expand, right?) There is potential here, but it isn't quite reached just yet.
Writer Mike Carey lets his villainous lead, Prometheus, take the reins in this story. The character dictates the flow and direction of the issue, commanding everything about him, in an attempt to sew his deep, sinister nature into the mind of the reader. Tragically, Prometheus feels like little more than a hot-headed villainous trope. Dull in both tone and power, he is a prattling figure. He seems to boast the vanity and arrogance of Dr. Doom without capturing the charm of his arrogant nature.
Carey has crafted a character of genuine intrigue with Just A Feeling. A quirky, clairvoyant type with a very sincere voice, her dialogue flows quite well. The scenes where she is front and center seem among the stronger ones in the issue, but sadly she is drowned out by Prometheus and his constant posturing.
In summation, this is not a jumping on point, but, I'll break down the issue into its base elements. The art holds promise, but Casagrande plays safe with most of her characters. I imagine the potential for the visual element could swell immensely, but, as of right now, it is a bit lackluster. The writing is muffled by the stereotypical, monologing villian type, and the hero is so mute of character this issue that he wasn’t even worth mentioning.
2 out of 5.
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