Review: Suicide Risk #6

After an unexpected turn-off last issue, exploring a different corner of the Suicide Risk universe, issue six puts us back on course in following supercop and recent inheritor of superpowers, Leo Winters, as he continues to wonder what the actual shit has become of his life. Forced into buying black market superpowers from a shady pair of costumed cretins in order to avenge his partner, Leo has, in short order, learned that he may actually be a godlike king named Requiem, bested in battle one of the world’s most preeminent super-villains and embroiled members of his own family within this strange conflict. This time, however, the target on his head comes from elsewhere, as he must learn to contend with the world’s other superfolks ... and it turns out they might not be so nice.

There is definitely something going on beneath this plot, and it isn’t so simple as people buying powers and throwing on some spandex. I’ve likened the series to the movie Hancock before, and I’m still willing to bet it’s something similar (a race of “gods” forced to forget who and what they are before being triggered), but we still have no real idea.

The bulk of the plot this time is the extortion of Leo via a group of supervillains called Nightmare Scenario, which is comprised of people with code names like “Sockpuppet,” “Plane Jane” and ... “Just A Feeling” (or J.A.F. for short), which have to be some of the worst/best superhero/villain names I’ve seen in some time. I mean, Just A Feeling? Really? Couldn’t have gone with Inkling or The Incredible Hunch? She sounds like a goddamn 1980s power ballad.

SuicideRisk_06_preview_Page_1Despite their names and exploiting his familial and fraternal weaknesses to force him into joining their quite insane ploy, the members of Nightmare Scenario further prove that this world is confused, ruthless and apparently also populated by demons from hell!

There are some other interesting powers at play here, but none more than what is happening with Leo’s daughter thousands of miles away in her bedroom; let’s just say that she’s going through some changes with a bit more gravity than those of her fellow teenagers, and I’m interested in seeing how this plays into the main story, though it does lend credence to my theory.

Otherwise, however, I felt like this issue was going around in circles, immediately introducing and then undermining a new character set while doing very, very little to advance the actual story other than the promise of another huge tangent or two.

The art in this book remains consistently inconsistent, with Casagrande proving a keen hand at expression, with some great, thick line-work that reminds me a lot of Russell Dauterman’s work in fellow Boom! book, Supurbia. Where it goes wrong, however, is the notable lack of detail in some of the wider shots, many of which I continue to think are too deeply draped and swallowed in too-dark colors and shadow.

We’ll see how I feel next month when the next issue rolls out, but I think I might be done with this title until it comes out in trade. I am interested in knowing what happens next as far as who Leo really is and the nature of the engine that drives this world, ever more filled as it is with new gods, but I feel Carey desperately needs to pull together some of his loose threads and avoid careening off into side stories like the issue that preceded this one; that kind of thing can work, but here it jarred the episodic flow. I think it would have been better suited as a series of two or three-page follow-ups in the back of each issue.

I do like the ridiculous level to which the Nightmare Scenario aspire in the revelation of their plot, and that could be fun to see turn out, but it feels like this book is being pulled in too many different directions at the moment and is in danger of being pulled too thin  in total. Ironically, the title is running a suicide risk if it continues to be crushed under too much premise, but hopefully it can pull itself together before it’s too far-gone.

Score: 3/5

Writer: Mike Carey Artist: Elena Casagrande Colorist: Andrew Elder Publisher: Boom Studios Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/2/13