A Beginner’s Guide to: Suicide Risk
If you’re just getting into comics, it’s easier to order trade paperbacks. Still, you might want something that’ll get you into a store from time to time, so allow me to introduce Suicide Risk. There are only 7 issues to date (with 8 dropping next week), so playing catch up shouldn’t take much time at all. The series is written by the acclaimed Mike Carey, who worked on some of my personal favourite series like Lucifer, Hellblazer, and another current ongoing The Unwritten. His work has been nominated for a whole bunch of awards and with good reason. I’m less familiar with series artist Elena Casagrande, but she’s doing excellent work as well; her art is very clean and easy to read. I’m really digging it.
This is a great series if you’re interested in superheroes, but should be more accessible than the huge, sprawling worlds of Marvel and DC. Carey has created a world where superpowers are bought and sold in back-alley deals, so becoming a hero (or a villain) only requires loads of cash and a positive reading from a mysterious “P-Wand.” Unfortunately, superheroes keep dying, leaving regular law enforcement to deal with the villains. During a robbery, Leo Winters watches a group of supervillains put his partner out of commission. Most of the villains escape, so Leo decides to take revenge into his own hands. He begins to have strange dreams of a life that isn’t his, and it seems that there’s something much larger going on than shady figures dealing superpowers.
In addition to being a great writer, Mike Carey is a wonderful world-builder. It seems that in between arcs, Carey will write one-offs showing some other aspect of the world he’s creating, and if his other work is any indication, those one-offs will often tie into the larger narrative at some point. I don’t want to spoil too much, but I’m really intrigued by the multiple timelines that the comic is working with, and I can’t wait to find out why certain people are able to obtain powers and where said powers come from. The story has been fast-paced without sacrificing characterization; lots of questions are being asked and we’re starting to get some answers.
The series has already got a good roster of characters. Leo’s already wrestling with his conscience, and while we’re rooting for him to be a good guy, he’s motivated entirely by revenge. He’s got a family and co-workers in the justice system, but the real color of the series comes from the supervillains. Carey’s done a good job of not copying existing superheroes (as has Casagrande with her character designs), which is tough when you consider how many superpowers have basically been claimed by the X-Men alone. The spotlight has mostly fallen on Leo and the villains, people who want to use their powers for selfish gain (with occasional glimpses into their motivations), but I would like to learn more about some of the non-powered folks in the comic, especially the characters who aren’t straight white dudes.
We’re still figuring out what’s going on, so it’s difficult to explain in more detail, but I look forward to this series every month. t’s a really interesting and increasingly-unique comic, hugely readable, and it’s good to support a small publisher like BOOM! Studios. Check it out before too many more issues come out!