Suicide Risk #1 “Getting a Bit Short on Heroes”
I was going to be biased reading Suicide Risk because it’s a Mike Carey project. I loved his work on Lucifer, and have enjoyed dipping my toes into his Hellblazer, X-Men:Legacy runs. Oddly, I could never get into Unwritten, though not because it isn’t good, it’s just not the story-within-a-story for me. Bias aside, this is a great first issue.
A first issue has a lot to do. Introduce a world, a plot, a protagonist, usually a villain or to. You have to juggle exposition with enough action to make it worth continuing. Carey does this part of the dance effortlessly. It’s a treatise on how to make a first issue work.
We begin with a debriefing of a police officer, Leo, who is giving his account of how seventeen police officers were killed in the line of duty, along with fourteen civilians. There were twelve wounded officers, including his friend John who will now never leave his wheelchair. While he recounts this war zone horror, we see the events unfold. Super powered villains doing what they want against police who have no hope of stopping them, and murdering hostages because they just don’t need them. We learn that powers have been popping up more frequently, and that the heroes that did exist have been killed or turned to crime themselves. The military isn’t helping, there are no heroes, so the police are the last in the line, and they now they have no chance. It’s like watching the drug war rage south of the border. Fortunately, our protagonist Leo is both smart and driven. He ignores family and being benched for stress to investigate what can be done. He pieces together clues that powers are available on the street for purchase, if you know who to ask. He tracks down a dealer, and sets up the plot for the series to come by making the devils choice.
Solid stuff, but after reading it, I realized all of the elements and themes have been explored before in Brian Bendis’s Powers. But this doesn’t read like Powers, and I know Carey. He’ll take a premise and run it beyond what anyone else could envision, so I don’t expect he’ll stay in the Powers neighborhood for long.
The colorist really stood out for me. An excellent job with mood and lighting and guiding your eye where to look. The power effects are excellent. The art is a realistic but dark and dirty style, like Mike Deodato does so well. Characters are visually distinct, and every figure moves and acts. This a talented art team that is trying to tell a story noirish story, and not trying to show off just because they can.
A solid a read and a good start to a series.
Writer: Mike Carey
Artist: Elena Casagrande
Colorist: Andrew Elder
Letterist: Ed Dukeshire
Cover Artist: Tommy Lee Edwards
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Scott Bachmann writes his own comics and novels over at