Suicide Risk is not unlike Rowdy Roddy Piper. Stay with me. See, among this fiery Scot’s considerable career accolades and catchphrases, there is one that expresses pretty perfectly the way I feel about this book. “Just when you think you know all the answers,” Hot Rod was often wont to say, “I change the questions.” Well, in my quaint, charmingly roundabout way, that’s exactly what I think Suicide Risk is telling its audience in this, its fourth issue: whispering answers, changing questions and generally mixing it up. Now, that tactic worked moderately-well for Piper, but does the same hold true for Mike Carey and Elena Casagrande’s budding Boom! book, or, (again like Piper), will it simply put those brave enough to challenge it to sleep?
Let’s stick with the pro-wrestling analogies once more, shall we? After all, if any issue deserves such an analysis, I figure four is it. The power structure / plot direction change that takes place between issues three and four of Suicide Risk is akin to what is called a “run in” in wrestling, where one of the boys in the locker room suddenly hits the ring and blasts his unassuming partner in the face with a chair, coconut or some other foreign object, thus turning on his colleague and changing the storyline dynamic completely.
In the same way, the events that ended last time, which saw the villainous Diva kidnapping the book’s main character, heart-of-gold San Diego cop Leo, lead here to a pretty big swerve. Throughout the issue, we learn a significant amount more about the exact “nature” (pun intended) and source of Leo’s powers, and by virtue of that, who (or what) he really is. HINT: it’s not just an angry cop with ill-gotten screwball electric powers and a hard on for justice.
In its exploration of amnesiac “gods” as modern-day superheroes/villains, the new setup of this book sort of reminds me of Hancock, which honestly, is part of the reason I stopped liking that movie halfway through it. The charm of Suicide Risk was that it was based on the street level, without floating sky castles and pseudo-godhood looming in the distance. But those days are gone. Spoiler!
I liked that, in its infancy, this was a simple yet harrowing revenge story about a man out of his depth, forced to turn against his beliefs for a weapon that could avenge his friend. This new direction unquestionably sets a bigger scope, but it also has the precarious potential to tumble into a grand mess, unless Carey can keep it confined within the grounded, familial barriers he established at the start, which I think is a must. With such a huge detour, though, it’s hard to say which way it’ll turn next, which is potentially great and also not so great.
The issue itself basically followed one conversation; as such, it was a bit slow and slightly exposition-heavy, with some repetitive elements (fly back/kidnap/force sacrifice/You can’t hurt me), but overall, it did an admirable job at teasing a deeper mythology, which again, is what makes me worried. Visually, Suicide Risk reminds me of Supurbia for some reason, but with significantly less detail. I agree with Serg (who fielded reviewing duties for this title previously) that the art is consistent, but also that nothing really stands out to any great degree. It’s fine and does its job well, but for me, not extraordinarily so.
The color, too, is a bit off, almost like it’s too dark. Now, because of that, its highlights speak volumes, and the flashes of Elder’s brighter moments impress, but the problem this creates is that there is almost no middle-ground, no fiber: just dense meat or polished bone. I also found some of the coloring choices incongruous. Leo’s captive father-in-law, for example, is meant to be Indian, but his skin color makes him look more Korugarian for a couple of panels, before finally settling into a healthier brown hue.
With all that said, I am glad that I took over this book for review, and I’m excited to see where the creative team takes it. Although it might not sound like it, I do have faith in them. Going forward, it’s hard to tell whether Suicide Risk is going to go for the hot tag ... or just hit us in the face with a chair, coconut or worse, a lemon.
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colorist: Andrew Elder
Publisher: Boom Studios
Release Date: 8/7/13