Losers #1-2

Written by Andy Diggle
Art by Jock
32 pages, color
Published by Vertigo/DC Comics

If you’d told me ten years ago that the Vertigo line would be publishing an action-adventure thriller, I’d have laughed. It’s amazing how much the Vertigo line has diversified in the last decade, moving from just dark fantasy/horror and skewed superheroes into a line whose commonality seems to be a mature sensibility… in other words, a perfect home for The Losers.

Dead men may tell no tales, but more importantly, no one’s looking over their shoulder for dead men. That’s what Clay and the rest of his ex-CIA Special Forces team is hoping. They know that the CIA sold them out, but they’re determined to get the last laugh. That’s why they’re letting the CIA think that they’re dead, while in reality they’re planning on getting a little bit of payback. With current CIA agent Aisha as their insider, they just might be able to do that…

Andy Diggle’s first two issues of The Losers are designed to grab your attention within seconds and keep it, and that’s exactly what they do. We’re starting in the middle of the story here, and Diggle’s wisely dropped us into the most exciting part: revenge. One of the most difficult things about writing for extraordinarily intelligent characters is that you’ve got to be even smarter than them to make them believable, and to some extent that’s what Diggle had to do with his group of characters and their plans for revenge. He succeeds quite nicely at that, weaving an intricate plan that you can’t see the ending of just yet, but so far the twists and turns are really fun to watch. Characterization is being built up slowly in The Losers, letting us get to know the characters in pieces at a time. By the end of the second issue, we’re starting to really get to know a few of the characters really well. I appreciate that he’s been focusing on just a couple of them at first, instead of having us overwhelmed by six brand new faces in the space of 22 pages. Hopefully this is a trend that’s going to continue for the next couple of issues, letting us meet the other half of the cast that up until now’s been in the background.

Jock’s artwork for The Losers is something that I’ve got both an admiration and an irritation for. On the one hand, his angular, heavily inked faces are really expressive and they remind me in a good way of artists like Tommy Lee Edwards that are able to accomplish a lot with their craggy-featured characters. Jock understands how to use the panel as a camera lens, zooming in on small details for added emphasis and knowing how to let the art tell the story as much as the speech coming out of the characters’s mouths. On the other hand, though, the constant zoom-ins on characters’s faces doesn’t work as well as it could because it really feels like Jock is only drawing one male face for all of the characters. There were several times where I really had to stop and figure out who was speaking, especially since the only difference between Clay and Roque seems to be the scar on Roque’s face (that blends into Jock’s heavily-lined faces pretty easily). Jock shows so much imagination drawing all the little details in The Losers that hopefully this admittedly important feature will catch up to the rest of the book.

At the end of two issues, The Losers wins on so many levels, but the one above all else is that it’s just sheer fun from start to finish. Heck, Diggle could just tell stories about Clay and Jensen scamming people left and right and it would be a blast, and that’s not including the other four members of the cast. I have no idea what Diggle and Jock have in store for future issues, but as long as they can keep up the high spirits I’ll be along for the ride. Rising up against the CIA has never been this much fun. The Losers is a monthly series from Vertigo/DC Comics.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com

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