Writer: Andy Diggle
Artist: Alé Garza
Well, bugger me sideways and call me Gerald! An interesting issue of The Losers! I checked, and it’s not Christmas…
Of course, the reason that it’s possible to read this issue without falling into a coma is because it (a) is a story about the only interesting character in the entire series so far, even if she does fall squarely within the cliché of “inconceivably competent and cool protagonist” (also known as the Grant Morrison Batman character type); and (b) wisely has nothing to do with the ongoing plot of the series, which is about as exciting as the Eastbourne over-60’s lawn bowls championship, only with guns. Looking at this issue on its own, I can see why people like this series, and why I enjoyed the first six or eight issues before it became clear it wasn’t going anywhere. I’m still baffled as to how the series got nominated for an Eisner though,
Alé Garza turns up on art, and does a much better job than the previous fill-in artist, largely because there’s no attempt to ape the “regular” artist’s style. Garza brings his own style to the comic, and it works very well, while still being recognisable as The Losers. If Jock really can’t keep up a monthly schedule, then Garza is an excellent choice to handle every other story arc. I suspect that we’re in for a rotating door situation with the fill-ins, however.
In terms of the writing, this is a nice self-contained piece that effectively puts across what this title is about. Diggle clearly adores Aisha, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see more solo stories (a graphic novel, I bet) about her. In fact, since she’s far more complex and interesting than the rest of the team (i.e. she has a personality and a motive), she could probably carry this series on her own, with the loss of the other characters (and their revenge plot) being an actual benefit to overall enjoyment.
We even get a pull-out poster this issue! Admittedly, it’s a poster for Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (which is a wonderful example of targeted advertising, guys, because surely nothing goes together as well as Afghan assassins and giant robots with ray guns…), but it’s nice to see a free “gift”. More extras in comics, I say!
Much as I’m loathe to admit it, I really enjoyed this issue. It perfectly condenses all the best bits of the series as a whole, and leaves out all of the bad bits (the Max plot, the other characters). I’d give this issue to anyone who was curious about the comic, or anyone who thought that comics were only about superheroes. I’d also point them towards something other than The Losers as an ongoing read, by mentioning how this issue is not only a good overview of the series’ strong points, but also contains more plot development in its pages than all of the fourteen preceding issues.
The Losers as a whole gets somewhere between two and three bullets from me because while it’s nice to look at, it’s boring as heck. This particular issue gets four bullets easily, but don’t expect to be as impressed by the others. Get this, enjoy it, and pretend it’s a self-contained graphic novel.
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