Suicide Risk had me at the cover, which not only comes emblazoned with the name Mike Carey (for me, usually a good sign), but that scene of a determined but reluctant, all-too-human police officer facing in the distance the insurmountable odds of superhumanity as it rises against him? Yes yes, y’all. Get over here with that sexy shit. Fortunately, the old “book/cover” axiom proved mostly untrue in this case, and that positive snap judgement turned out to be legit. This is a pretty damn fun book. Okay look, none of this is breaking any new ground. Selling superpowers like smack on the street to the highest bidder, for instance, has been done to near-death; most recently, in my living memory anyway, during the pretty good, pretty gritty “UK Heroes” show, Misfits. And then there’s Bath Salts, of course.
The same could be said about the ground-level response to said superpowers, and a world where the villains have won or are winning against “supes.” So sure, parts of this issue feel like stuff I’ve encountered before in books like Wanted, Incognito, Sleeperand a few others, but you know what? I don’t care. I’m a sucker for that shit.
It’s probably not a big shocker then that I dug this story, which follows your classic layman’s lawman Leo, a police officer who labors without powers in a world gone haywire with them. Finding himself down a partner, up a few dead colleagues and amidst a mess of murdered civvies after a nasty predicament with some juiced-up super thugs, we’re shortly left to ponder the lengths to which Officer Leo will go to literally empower his vengeance, and what it will truly cost him in the end.
In that, Carey nods to some deeper world building by asking why everyone who buys superpowers soon becomes tainted by them. This does make me think that this could go a number of different ways, but hopefully not further into familiarity as a treatment of absolute power corrupting absolutely. There are other elements, however - like the machine that gauges a regular human’s compatibility to becoming powered - that ratchet up my interest here, especially as it ties to why our hero cop’s donor match status is off the charts.
The interplay between characters is decent enough, as are the motivations that drive them forward, while the characterization of Leo - a set-upon cop out of his depth - while feeling somewhat vanilla, is quietly relatable and easily digested.
The art, on the other hand, feels a bit inconsistent at times, vacillating between a sort of crowded claustrophobia and bleak, slightly lazily-defined backgrounds. The color is more full-on, but it comes in too thickly, like make-up that’s been troweled on to hide a worn face. But for the most part, the final visual effect is happily serviceable, and shows signs of brilliance. These come mainly within the liner notes of Leo’s home and work life, as well as a few action panels.
I don’t think Suicide Risk will ever become a classic, but I do think it has the potential for its world to become fully realized and in general, a good story. Hopefully, the creative team can capitalize on its momentum by exploring a deeper rabbit hole, but either way, I’m pretty damn on-board for this series and am already looking forward to seeing how the electrifying final moments of the first issue will continue in the next and throughout the series as a whole. Check this one out!
Writer: Mike Carey Artist: Elena Casagrande Colorist: Andrew Elder Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release date: 5/1/13