Review: Suiciders #1

The name Lee Bermejo is quite a well-known one to comic book fans, with his singularly amazing and immediately recognizable art style splashing the pages of DC Comics’ titles from Batman to Superman. His outstanding work in the Joker graphic novel, however, brought him to my attention as an artist, and I’ve always given a book with his name stamped on the cover a second look. While Bermejo is a proven artistic talent, his newest comic book offering, Suiciders, represents the creator’s first delve into writing a story, but you wouldn’t know it from reading Suiciders #1. With terrific pacing, strong world-building, and imaginative concepts, Suiciders #1 sure doesn’t seem like it was written by a rookie.

(Preview courtesy of Previews!)
Suiciders #1SUICIDERS #1
(W/A/CA) Lee Bermejo
In the post-apocalyptic city of New Angeles, killing isn’t just a crime – it’s entertainment.
When the “big one” finally hit the West Coast, Los Angeles was left in ruins. And when the U.S. government decided to cut the city loose, things went from bad to worse. To survive, L.A. did what it does best: It turned survival into entertainment.
Now, thirty years later, the city of New Angeles is thriving once more thanks to the blood sport known as SUICIDERS – a TV series that combines the spectacle of hand-to-hand combat with elaborate, high-tech obstacles that test each competitor’s ability to survive. But these competitors have an edge: They’ve been freakishly enhanced by drugs and technology. The results are both marvelous and monstrous, as the man called The Saint begins to rise above his fellow Suiciders.
SUICIDERS is a dark, post-apocalyptic epic that tells the story of a strange, brutal world, written and illustrated by Lee Bermejo, the #1 New York Times best-selling writer/artist behind JOKER, BATMAN: NOEL, LUTHOR and BEFORE WATCHMEN: RORSCHACH.
Item Code: DEC140404
In Shops: 2/25/2015
SRP: $3.99

The World

Bermejo’s pencils are the brilliant masterpieces we’ve all become accustomed to from the creator. Detailed panels, sprawling landscapes, and fluid motion fill each and every page, but Bermejo’s action panels are truly a wonder to behold. It’s this attention to the art that does most of the world-building for the reader, and it’s a treat to see such great comic book story-telling without using so much dialogue. The writing, however, accompanies the artwork perfectly, coalescing into something really amazing. New Angeles and this entire dystopian future breathes with life, and Bermejo’s ability to create such a compelling world in only a single issue really shows just how talented the creator is.

The Concepts

While there’s quite a bit going on in this issue, between the world-building, gladiatorial combat, and intriguing characters, Bermejo ambitiously hints at so much more, adding a sense of importance and giving a lot of potential to the series as it moves forward. Class Warfare, Hero Worship, Human Vanity Augmentations, and, dare I say, Religion were only some of the socially relative issues mentioned in this ish, and there’s a real opportunity for this book to be a lot more relative. I truly hope Bermejo is willing to take those risks as the series continues. I’m a fan of anything meaningful, and this sci-fi tale could be just that.

The Coloring

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention living legend comic book colorist Matt Hollingsworth’s work on this issue for two reasons. First, it was incredible! It’s not only beautiful, but it helps drive the overall tone of each scene with an expertise that can only come from this master. Second, I want to be able to reference this review when he’s nominated for yet another Eisner Award for Coloring this year. Bravo! Thank you for this wonderful work.

The Verdict

Suciders #1 wavers just a bit with its use of some overused story-telling techniques, but it’s not enough to damper the amazing quality of the issue. It’s a beautifully drawn, superbly colored, and very well told introduction to a series with a big world, bigger concepts, and even bigger characters. There’s also some great opportunities for Bermejo to address important social issues, if he takes a risk. Discussing society through sci-fi is one of my favorite aspects of the genre, and if this first issue of the series is any indication, Lee Bermejo will take those risks. Pick this one up!

Story: 4.5 Out of 5
Art: 5 Out of 5
Overall: 5 Out of 5


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