Barbarella 1 (December 2017)

Barbarella #1

No doubt I’m going to regret it, but I’m excited about Barbarella. There’s whatever baggage comes with having an old white guy (Mike Carey) write a bisexual future woman and it’s definitely there. Carey doesn’t have any conversations, he just acknowledges conversations to be had. Only without ever promising they’ll be had. Again, I’m going to regret being excited about this book.

Because the rest of it is Carey doing crazy sci-fi. Not super crazy sci-fi, not like with dragons and angels and whatnot, but futuristic cyberpunk meets intergalactic travel stuff. There’s a lot of action, there’s a lot of sublime plotting, there’s a lot of great art.

Kenan Yarar implies a lot more detail than he actually draws. He’s got a rough style and a great sense of movement. It’s important because eventually Carey starts doing summary and Yarar is able to fill those montage panels with a nature momentum.

It makes for a compelling read. I’m looking forward to the next issue, which is kind of embarrassing because Barbarella is kind of a cop-out. It’s an excellently executed comic, but it’s aimed at the broadest audience Dynamite can get away with on a book with nudity and sex.

And Yarar’s rough and immediate style actually give Barbarella all its grit.

Honestly, it feels like a Dark Horse comic from the mid-nineties.

One I’m hesitantly onboard with, because I can’t believe Dynamite is intentionally doing this book this (good) way.

CREDITS

Red Hot Gospel, Part One: The Spoils of War; writer, Mike Carey; artist, Kenan Yarar; colorist, Mohan; letterer, Crank!; consulting editor, Jean-Marc Lofficier; publisher, IDW Publishing.

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Suicide Risk 13 (May 2014)

Suicide Risk #13

And I’m done. While it’s obvious Carey isn’t done with all his reveals on Suicide Risk, he’s also gotten to the point of no return. When you start aping Back to the Future, okay! it’s just for a joke and it works all right… But Carey reveals his superhero universe to be based on Highlander II: The Quickening and there’s no excuse for it.

This revelation comes in the middle of the flashback to Requiem’s trial and explains everyone. It’s an uncomfortable mix of sci-fi, fantasy and superhero stuff. It’s been so long since Carey’s had any successful ideas on the comic and the whole trial thing is just terrible. And it gets worse as it goes on.

Then the cliffhanger is confusing; it requires a visual reference only Casagrande isn’t distinctive enough on the art. It should be a stunning moment, instead it’s painfully obvious.

Risk is toast.

C- 

CREDITS

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

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.

Suicide Risk 11 (March 2014)

SuicideRisk 11 cover

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.

Suicide Risk 10 (February 2014)

SuicideRisk 10 rev Page 1

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.

Suicide Risk 9 (January 2014)

SuicideRisk 09 rev Page 1

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.

Suicide Risk 8 (December 2013)

SuicideRisk 08 rev

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.

Suicide Risk 7 (November 2013)

SuicideRisk 07 preview Page 1

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.

Suicide Risk 6 (October 2013)

SuicideRisk 06 rev

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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