Mike Carey and Elena Casagrande’s “Suicide Risk” #3 continues their bold and intriguing look at a world with superpowers out of control. It’s not a new idea, but Carey breathes wonderful life into it.
It’s quite amazing what Carey has been able to do with world building in so few issues, especially when it comes to his superheroes. His villains are each more interesting and complex than a whole flock of average comic book villains, and it gives the book a fascinating angle. Even with a back-story info dump on villainess Memento Mori, which Carey keeps short and works into the narrative fairly seamlessly, the characters are interesting and their powers are horrifying. Considering “Suicide Risk” is not afraid to kill characters (including beloved dogs, ouch), readers can really feel the ramifications of those horrifying powers. The consequences up the stakes considerably. Our lead feels reasonably safe, as lead characters generally do, but there are real risks for most everyone else in the book, including the villains.
One of Carey’s most interesting characters so far is The Alchemist, with a more nuanced form of mind control that changes brain chemistry and that people will pay high dollar for. The Alchemist’s girlfriend, as Carey addresses straight away, is essentially being raped, since her agency has been stripped from her. In a comic book world where this happens more than readers would think and with creators not understanding what they’re doing or saying with something like this, it’s refreshing to see Carey calling it for what it is on the page.
Casagrande gets better with every issue. There’s always been a nice smooth style to her work and clean storytelling but this issue is more consistent overall. The emotions and character acting is also better throughout. Some of the action scenes still don’t quite work and backgrounds are a bit sparse, but it’s getting there. Ed Dukeshire’s colors pay particularly great attention to the light in the more dramatic scenes — villains conspiring in dark rooms, the gold of Goddess-like villains, and even our heroes own lightning power.
If you like superhero stories with a dark bent and stories that feel like they have real significance and ramifications, give “Suicide Risk” a try. It’s risky and interesting with phenomenal world building and characters.