Boom! Studios, Comic, $3.99 each / Trade Paperback of issues #1-4, $9.99
Reviewed by David Brzeski
Reviewing an ongoing comic-book series is a bit like trying to review just the first few chapters of a novel, especially if you don’t have a complete story-arc in hand. In fact, I delayed this review several times to give me the chance to check out one more issue.
Leo is a cop. He’s on compassionate leave, because he was the only physically unscathed survivor of a bank raid. The other survivor, his partner, had his arm crushed beyond saving.
The perpetrators of the bank raid had super powers. Such powers can be bought by anyone from back street dealersâ€”if you have the money and the courage. There are no guarantees that you’ll get anything good, if anything at all. And more often than not they come with a free dose of psychosis, which means most of the super-powered are badâ€”very bad!
Leo decides to get some power of his own, to enable him to bring the people who crippled his partner and killed so many other cops, not to mention all their hostages, to justice. The problem is, he doesn’t fully understand his abilities, and he certainly can’t control them. In his first encounter with one of his targets, a not-particularly innocent, but non-powered, individual is critically injured.
The various characters and their powers are well thought out and reasonably original, without being too hokey. Even their super-villain code-names are pretty cool: Diva, Grudge War, Dr. Maybe, Voiceover and my personal favourite, Memento Mori.
It’s excellently written as one would expect from Mike Carey, and the art, by Elena Casagrande and colourist, Andrew Elder simply cannot be faulted.
There are many unanswered questions at this stage in the series; such as where does the mysterious device that the dealers use to grant power to anyone with enough money come from? Will Leo go bad in the end too, when the psychosis takes hold? Hints are given in the fourth issue that there may be something really strange going on, involving destiny and some sort of cosmic plan. Mike Carey achieves this in a manner which actually lets the reader understand slightly more about whatâ€™s going on than the protagonist does at this stage.
Then, just when youâ€™ve become really involved in the story, Carey leaves Leo for a while and introduces us to a totally new character, in a single-issue story drawn by a different artistâ€”JoÃ«lle Jones, who is every bit as good as Casagrande.
Ada Robinsâ€™ life is a catalogue of troubles, until she acquires some powers of her own. Basically a good person, her methodology for getting her life back on track is… interesting!
Casagrande is back for issues 6 and 7, in which Leo joins forces with a group of the villains he detests, in an effort to find out more about his destiny and his forgotten other life as â€˜Requiemâ€™.
I’m certainly going to be keeping up with this one.