If you haven’t been reading Suicide Risk by Mike Carey (X-Men, Lucifer) from Boom! Studios, here’s a quick recap. The series tells the story about a new “drug” out on the market that can essentially give a normal person super powers, if they test positive for it. The problem that our main protagonist (Leo Winters, a San Diego police officer) and everyone else face is that this treatment is relatively affordable by most and is being used by criminals to further advance their unlawful agendas.
After many of his co-workers and friends have either been injured or lost their lives to this new threat, Winters decides that the only way to counter this new menace is by tracking down the suppliers of this drug, and after the mysterious p-wand device confirms that he is a positive match he undergoes the power giving process himself.
The powers he gains from this include the ability to manipulate gravity although he goes through a learning curve at first, struggling to control his power and making him a danger to himself, a suicide risk if you will. In the first nine issues, Winters tracks down the criminals responsible for the bank robbery that resulted in the loss of lives and his partner’s injury. He then infiltrates Nightmare Scenario, a group of super villains and prevents a catastrophic event from occurring. Not to spoil too much, but Winters comes through okay and is able to defeat the threat. His new powers however have come at a cost as they continue to progress, he is quickly losing not only his old self but quite possibly his family as he realizes that he has an entirely separate life as Requiem. Unbeknownst to him is his daughter Tracey’s startling discovery of her ability to open up portals to other worlds. She makes contact with another life form who refers to her as the “End-Bringer”. How Tracey obtained these powers remains a mystery for now but it seems obvious that her role in this story will be significant to say the least. This is where the Nightmare Scenario arc ends.
This brings us to issue ten (out today) which shifts gears to bring us the origin so to speak of Jed McManus and Hailey Beckman, the couple who Winters and everyone else are obtaining their powers from. On the run from three mysterious humanoid agents who may or may not be from the future, these strange beings are able to establish a psionic link to Jed where they force him to recall old memories that can prove beneficial to them. It is here where we travel back with Jed and discover how he and Hailey began their entrepreneurship. We also learn that this super-power pushing couple has developed a unique ability to identify those who are willing to pay the price for the chance of acquiring a new power. They have made a smart business decision to provide this treatment for $5000, a fair price for what the buyer is receiving. Hailey dominates the relationship between the two but they work well together, continuously escaping the grasp of their pursuers by using a teleport shunt that can beam them to another location if needed. The most engrossing part of issue ten was learning about the list and that the first agent (now deceased) was there to assure that those on the list were still “mind blocked” essentially preventing them from learning who they once were.
Suicide Risk did not grab me after picking up the first few issues, but yet I continued to read month after month. I was interested but the series just wasn’t one of my pulls that I had to read first. Then something happened during the last arc and everything started coming together. Issue ten surprised me even more by moving away from our main character and providing us with a story that was both human and very relevant to where I believe this book is going. We now know that Leo Winters is not the only person who was once somebody else and that there are forces at work that are doing everything possible from allowing those on the list from realizing who they once where or who they really are. Whatever the reason, Jed and Hailey have truly complicated matters with their actions which have proven to be both grave and convoluted.
Mike Carey has once again managed to lure me in and make me care about both the characters and the story here. With his strong writing that always seems to command our attention, along with alluring illustrations from Elena Casagrande (Hulk, Hack/Slash) as well as guest artist appearances from Joelle Jones and Jorge Coelho, Suicide Risk is the best of both worlds. It’s a comic book with an unconventional approach that delivers the quintessential superhero story with a strong indie feel. More importantly it rewards those that are committed to it with an impressive close to the first ten issues.
Check out the five-page preview of Suicide Risk #10 below. You can purchase issue ten and past issues on Comixology.