Mike Carey

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Suicide Risk 12 (April 2014)

Suicide Risk #12

Carey continues to let Suicide Risk slide down further. It’s not a terrible issue, though the stuff with Requiem fighting his family and then leaving them when the mind control villain shows up is dumb. It doesn’t make any sense, but then Carey’s never known what to do with the family.

There are some flashbacks to the villain world too. A bunch of supervillains having a battle with some nameless, indistinct good guys. Presumably.

The issue doesn’t show any real signs of life until the end, when Carey moves from a flashback at Requiem’s trial to the mind of Leo Winters. Having the protagonist share his mind with a supervillain should provide some good moments. It doesn’t.

Worse, Carey establishes the mind control villain so well the character should have been the series’s narrator for the whole thing.

Carey’s trying to develop past the initial hook and he’s got nothing.

C+ 

CREDITS

Seven Walls and a Pit Trap, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 11 (March 2014)

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Leo–see, only took me ten issues to remember his name–is now under control of his other-dimensional evil self who’s trying to figure what’s happened. I can’t quite remember the fill-in explaining everything, but the villains are just criminals brainwashed and dumbed on regular Earth?

There’s a lot of megalomania interior monologue for Leo. Carey pretty much does him as an evil Superman, which gets boring fast. It’s not even interesting for a whole page, I don’t think.

One of the bad guys might know what’s going on and it seems like the daughter’s powers will finally get explained but if they were transported there, how did the brainwashers set up the marriage. Is the wife brainwashed too?

All of these questions and more will undoubtedly be answered in a vaguely interesting, but not really compelling way.

Carey’s got too many ideas in Risk and no restraint.

C+ 

CREDITS

Seven Walls and a Pit Trap, Part 1 of 3; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 10 (February 2014)

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In a series without a lot of strong women–unless you count them having superpowers–Carey reveals the guy selling superpowers is under the spell of another evil woman. It’s kind of mean. Carey just picks on the guy relentlessly, like the Ghost of Christmas Future picks on.

Jorge Coelho fills in on the art. He could be a lot better, especially given how much influence he takes from those Prometheus aliens. Otherwise the art’s not exactly bad, but not good enough to have much personality.

Carey reveals a lot. The super people aren’t supposed to remember who they are. There are beings monitoring them. Is it The Matrix or Dark City or something in between? It might not matter if Carey can’t make Risk’s world a lot more interesting.

I don’t know if the issue’s distressing or just too predictable. The only surprise from Carey is his meanness.

B- 

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Carey; artist, Jorge Coelho; colorist, Kelly Fitzpatrick; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 9 (January 2014)

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Casagrande’s getting really good. Suicide Risk is developing a new style, especially with how Carey is developing the characters. There’s a lot of good moves this issue, not just with Leo–his family even figuring in (finally)–but with the supporting cast and where the series is going.

In fact, it no longer feels much like Risk. Something about the cliffhanger reveal this issue reminds a lot of how Carey uses cliffhangers in Unwritten. It might just be a coincidence, but it feels like Carey is altering how he’s telling this comic to match other successful devices from his other series.

Regardless, it’s a great issue, probably the best due to the way Casagrande’s style has matured and Carey giving the series it’s first real twist. The way Carey leads up to it, keeping the reader a little removed… it’s masterful.

Risk might have real legs on it after all.

B+ 

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 8 (December 2013)

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The first half of the issue is a lot better than the second. The second is why you don’t try to do an action scene as talking heads.

Carey opens with a lot of status updates. Leo’s kids, the United Nations, Leo and the supervillain lady having their morning after scene; Carey is catching up with a lot and juggling a lot and it works out.

But then there’s the scene with Leo and his new supervillain friends by the pool. There are also bombers about to nuke them or whatever and so Leo has to coordinate the team. It’s rather boring stuff, Leo on the ground, instructing people, quick panels showing the people carrying out instructions. The twist at the end is inexplicable and contrived.

It’s a strange issue. The first half shows Carey’s giving Risk legs, but the second makes it seem like he doesn’t know it’s going.

CREDITS

Nightmare Scenario, Part Three; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 7 (November 2013)

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I finally remember the lead character’s name–Leo–though I don’t know why. Maybe because his name becomes so unimportant in this issue, as it becomes clear Carey does have some alternate reality reveal planned out where the protagonist was a supervillain already.

It doesn’t really matter, though. The family stuff in the comic is its worst aspect. The rest of it, the stuff with the supervillains taking over a state in Mexico and declaring themselves absolute rulers… it’s okay. It’s not great, but it’s okay. Carey’s not treading unexplored territory but at least he’s taking a slightly different path of “realistic” superheroes.

Casagrande doesn’t do very well on the big military engagement at the start of the issue and there’s something off about her attack on the Mexican city. The grand scale seems to escape her. The more confined scenes are a lot better.

It’s a decent enough issue.

CREDITS

Nightmare Scenario, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 6 (October 2013)

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Apparently all Carey needed to do with Suicide Risk to sustain the comic was send it to Mexico. This issue is another strong one, maybe even the best so far in the normal series. I even remember the lead’s name is Leo; I usually forget somewhere during the issue.

There are more bad guys who show up, but Carey doesn’t go overboard introducing them. There’s not a lot of nonsense with Leo as a cop, just as the protagonist in over his head. Carey’s not trying too hard to fit in the exposition. And the annoying family is only in it for a few pages.

The issue hints at a whole lot. The super powered people are maybe shadows of other people–their real selves–something along those lines. Hopefully it’s not The Matrix. There’s a demon from Hell, however, so who knows… anything’s possible.

I hope Carey can maintain.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 5 (September 2013)

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It’s the best issue of Suicide Risk by miles and I really wish it weren’t. See, it’s a side story. It’s Carey doing the story of a put-upon housewife who gets the chance at superpowers and how it all shakes out. It’s not a regular issue, so it being fantastic doesn’t mean anything for the series itself.

And it’s an outstanding issue. Carey writes first person narration for the character, who’s immediately stronger than anyone else he’s ever written in the comic. He spends almost half the issue dealing with her ground situation–dead end job, pervert boss, crappy husband, crappy kids–before he even introduces the superpowers.

Then he gives her some wacky powers and so it becomes even more inventive. It’s simply wonderful. Nice art from Joëlle Jones too, who manages to go between innocence and grimness. I just wish the regular comic were as strongly written.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Carey; artist, Joëlle Jones; colorist, Emilio Lopez; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 4 (August 2013)

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So Carey has his best issue and Casagrande has her worst.

One of the nuttier supervillains whisks the protagonist off to her temple and Carey spends half the issue introducing some really dense mythology into the comic book. He also explains some of how the protagonist’s powers work–and lets a couple of his friends know about them.

The mythology gives way to problem solving, which leads to a fantastic conclusion. Unfortunately, Casagrande draws the protagonist rather awkwardly. He’ll occasionally appear squat in the talking panels. It makes the entire comic, even with the stronger art in other places, seem ugly and cheap.

Sadly, the one thing Carey doesn’t do well is bring in the protagonist’s family. They’re still a pointless addition to the comic as he doesn’t interact with them. He talks about them, yes, but Carey’s just using them as damsels in distress.

Still, best issue to date.

CREDITS

Writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 3 (July 2013)

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I’m getting really sick of Carey’s cliffhangers. He doesn’t have a good resolution for the previous issue’s and then he has another weak one here. He’s introducing a bunch of information this time in the cliffhanger, presumably to encourage one to come back next time….

It’s maybe the third expository diarrhea this issue. It’s incredible how much exposition Carey has here; over and over and over. But never about the single interesting thing–the protagonist’s superpowers cause his brother’s husband to lose his voice. No explanation why, even though the protagonist (his name’s not memorable) seems to know.

There are some really good moments throughout, but Carey is avoiding way too much. His pacing on the series isn’t paying off and all his conversations are contrived for expository purposes.

The problem is Carey’s approach. He’s spending too much time on the villains instead of his protagonist.

The comic’s not gelling.

CREDITS

Grudge War, Part Two; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 2 (June 2013)

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Carey really needs to work on his cliffhangers for Risk. He passes up an interesting one–the protagonist’s wife wondering about him talking to a woman in his sleep–for a common one. Supervillain fight leading to an explosion, the standard, in other words.

It’s as though Carey knows all he has to set the comic apart is the protagonist being a dedicated family man–there’s a really forced moment when another cop refers to the family as his “blessings”–but he also doesn’t want to tell that story. Instead, he wants to have his protagonist hunt down the bad guys and get into big, action-packed fights.

But the comic’s still decent, even if it feels undercooked. Carey’s a good writer, even when he’s forcing, and there are some interesting moments. For example, the protagonist’s superpowers has a side effect–he repulses water.

It’s still too soon to tell.

CREDITS

Grudge War, Part One; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

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Suicide Risk 1 (May 2013)

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Mike Carey’s got one big problem with Suicide Risk… he’s doing a new realistic superpowers series and everyone’s been doing those series for almost a decade now. The shades of Powers and The Boys don’t reflect on Carey; they’re just inevitable at this point.

He does introduce a couple new things into the mix. His protagonist is a cop–maybe SWAT, it’s not clear from this issue–who isn’t on some special team or assignment. He’s just always having to deal with the supervillains.

And the superpowered folk are almost all supervillains. Carey makes sure to establish it in the first issue–even the good guys eventually go bad. It’s just too much power for them, apparently.

The writing is all good in terms of dialogue and pacing, but it’s just too soon to tell where Carey’s heading. He’s intentionally opaque.

Elena Casagrande’s art is successful, combining realistic and fantastic.

CREDITS

Getting a Bit Short on Heroes; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Elena Casagrande; colorist, Andrew Elder; letterer, Ed Dukeshire; editors, Dafna Pleban and Matt Gagnon; publisher, Boom! Studios.

The Unwritten 35.5 (May 2012)

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Interesting, now Carey’s using the final .5 issue to set up something else forthcoming. He introduces the reader–for the first time–to a peon in the Cabal. The protagonist this issue, Danny, is a thoroughly underwhelming English major who ends up working in the big reading room for the Cabal. Lots of the big events in the series occur, giving the reader a sense of the time passing.

There are a couple major bumps–it ties directly in to the story arc Carey finished the previous issue–and it’s a fine setup. It’s a little too much of a setup, but Carey does give the character an interesting story and perspective on this world. He’s entirely believable as a dimwit college student. It’s interesting to see the mundane in the Unwritten world.

Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s art is good. The settings all feel very British.

It’s a thoroughly good comic.

CREDITS

Gospel Creatures; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; artist, Gabriel Hernandez Walta; colorist, Lee Loughridge; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.

The Unwritten 35 (May 2012)

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Maybe Tom seems like an action hero because of his outfit. He’s got suspenders for some reason, looking a little like Bullitt.

It’s a Tom and Pullman issue. There’s some action, but there’s mostly just Pullman messing with Tom. Pullman–and Carey–promise some great revelation, but it’s unclear how much of it Pullman is just keeping to himself. The issue doesn’t exactly raise questions about Leviathan and the nature of the universe, but it doesn’t answer any either.

There’s a big change–possibly two–for the series at the end (and maybe even some little ones throughout). Carey, Gross and Perker do such a good job throughout, one can ignore the entire arc has basically just been a way for Carey to soft reboot the series. He could just as easily done a “One Year Later,” since he doesn’t even bother with subplots this arc.

Still, it’s fine stuff.

CREDITS

Tommy Taylor and the War of Words, Part Five; writers, Peter Gross and Mike Carey; pencillers, Gross and M.K. Perker; inker, Perker; colorist, Chris Chuckry; letterer, Todd Klein; editors, Joe Hughes and Karen Berger; publisher, Vertigo.