No Risk at All – Suicide Risk Volume 1: Grudge War

Suicide Risk by Mike Carey and Elena Casagrande is a refreshing new look at the superhero genre in a title published by Boom! Studios.  In an ocean already overcrowded with books about capes it is hard to make a wave, but Carey and Casagrande have done so successfully with this title giving us something new and exciting.

In the world of Suicide Risk there were few heroes, if any, but as time passed more and more were coming out of the woodwork due to the ability to simply purchase powers.  More often than not, most of these people chose to use their powers for personal gain instead of the greater good, thus giving the world more villains everyday.  The book is from the perspective of a police officer named Leo and thus reads like a police procedural.  After a standoff with some villains who decimated police and civilians, as well as maiming his best friend, Leo is aiming to get revenge on the villains who caused the destruction.  As his investigation continues, Leo soon discovers that not all things as are they seem to be, setting up future mysteries and storylines.

The setup for the book is a novel approach to differentiate it from many on the stands, a little like Gotham Central but not as dark.  The closest in similarities would be Stormwatch: PHD, though that specific title dealt with police and heroes working together where in this book that is not the case.  Carey seems to have upped his game since he left the Big Two behind, and he seems refreshed to play in the Boom! sandbox.  His writing is sharp and direct telling us exactly what we need to know and the dialogue is genuine to the characters who are speaking whether from Leo’s wife or the cops at the precinct.  Carey keeps the reader enamoured with the various situations going on and it is not until the end that one realizes there is no more to read.  Hopefully Boom! keeps the collected editions on a punctual schedule, though if need be one can always read the single issues.
Elena Casagrande’s art is a nice little revelation as well.  Her bio says she has illustrated Hulk and Hack/Slash though the specific issues do not come to mind.  Thankfully she is on this book as her art is first-rate and deserved of being more in the spotlight.  The facial expressions of the characters are on target with Carey’s dialogue and the characters themselves are very distinguished from one another.  Memento Mori is as frightening as Diva is beautiful and Casagrande shows she has a good handle on costume and character design.  Great choice by Boom! and Carey for bringing Casagrande on board and hopefully she is on for the long haul as consistency is key, especially for a new book such as this.

With characters such as the aforementioned Memento Mori and Diva, along with Grudge, Dr. Maybe, ancient goddesses and reincarnated beings, Carey brings a lot of ideas to the book with a definite goal in mind.  Inventive, innovative and captivating, Carey and Casagrande bring their best and put it out for all to see.  Suicide Risk is a book that is not the standard cape and cowl fare and if needing something to read this book is a definite must-buy.

4 out of 5

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