Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Suicide Risk, Volume 1 Review (Mike Carey, Elena Casagrande)

Is the title a warning that the reader might just give up all hope somewhere in the book and decide to end it all for good?

Leo is that most interesting of character archetypes, an ordinary cop, who lives in a world where the supervillains massively outnumber the superheroes, for some reason. During a bank robbery, his partner’s arm is cut off and several colleagues lose their lives. Though incensed, how could an ordinary cop take on supervillains with their powers? Luckily for Leo he finds a way to somehow become a superhero himself. Now, the hunt is on to take the fight to the bad guys and make them pay - by boring them to death! 

Suicide Risk was the most garbled, confusing comic I’ve read in quite some time. I have nothing but questions over the bizarre storytelling choices of Mike Carey. For instance, why are there so many more supervillains than superheroes? Why do so many “turn” evil? It’s never explained. Not that you really care – these characters, superhero or villain, are laughable at best. 

The supervillains go by: Grudge War, Dr Maybe, Diva, Voiceover, The Alchemist and Memento Mori. The worst names you’ve ever seen in a comic? Hold on! The one superhero who shows up has the stupidest name of them all: Extended Remix! I re-read that page multiple times to make sure that was his name and not some weird line, but no, it is! Extended Remix?! Is that why superheroes become supervillains - so they can have a slightly less embarrassing name? But then, Dr Maybe… no. I guess Mike Carey’s just a crap writer. 

These tools barely qualify as ciphers, you learn so little about them. And if they’re so capable at dealing with every threat thrown their way from police to superheroes and everything else, why do they stop at robbing banks – why aren’t they running the world or something from some tropical island fortresses? Instead they live in flats! Sure, “nice” flats, but still – not even a house? That’s the end of their “story” by the way: the supervillains rob a bank, kill some police, then do nothing while Leo gets superpowers and hunts them down. They’re basically just props.

How does an ordinary guy get powers to become an Electro clone? He finds a random number by chance, dials it, somehow convinces the two goons who show up with a magic wand to tap him on the head and faster than you can say Hey Presto! he’s floating in the air and shooting lightning bolts. But he can’t use his powers too much because he can’t control them yet and he might die – he’s a Suicide Risk. Excuse me while I try to stop my eyes from rolling out of my head.

Up to this point I was bored senseless with the clumsy plotting, non-characters, and below-average, totally uninteresting script. But here’s where the series took a fatal nosedive which made sure I wouldn’t continue past this first volume. A goddess who’s some kind of ancient superhero says that she and Leo lived a past life together as gods and he’s just forgotten?! Then she demands he murder his family before they can be together?!?! And she’s a good guy or something!?!?!?!? WHaAaAaAaatTt?!?!?!

There are other scenes that didn’t make sense to me before this, uh, “big reveal”. Like when the actual detectives assigned to investigate the supervillains go to visit The Alchemist, knowing his superpower is to alter peoples’ brain chemistry and that he’ll probably make them like him and totally forget to question him properly – which he does – and yet they make no attempt otherwise to offset this. How. Dumb. Are. They. Also a dog is killed which is something I hate seeing.

But Suicide Risk Volume 1 was the definition of sloppy. The story is just all over the place and fails to have any aspect of its nonsense make sense by itself let alone mesh with another. The result is pure bafflement and tedium. 

Part of it felt like Gotham Central (the supervillains vs ordinary cops), and part of it felt like Incognito (the divisions within the supervillain world), both of which are coincidentally Ed Brubaker comics that I didn’t care for. But Suicide Risk tries to emulate the two and comes up short. Not that either series is that good, but a crap facsimile of the two mashed together? What codswallop – I hated this stupid comic! 

Oh and the “story” ends in the middle of an action sequence - great timing, idiots! The characters are in a location that’s falling down around them, they say something redundant like “quick, we’ve gotta get out of here!” and then it ends. It couldn’t be less satisfying. I mean, how annoying is that, when everything just

Suicide Risk, Volume 1

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