Writer: Andy Diggle
With The Losers, Andy Diggle takes everything books and film have told us about CIA spy stories, put them in a blender set to puree and given us a delicious smoothie of a tale. There might be chunks of ice or fruit caught in your straw, but that doesn’t stop you from wanting more.
…that metaphor sounded way better in my head.
As with any spy story, it takes a bit to warm up to the story — to understand what’s even going on, in fact. None of the characters are exactly likeable at first and seem to be caricatures, as if Diggle knew what he needed to put together an awesome team of blacklisted special forces dudes, but didn’t know how they would fit within that team as people. (Clay’s the team leader that’ll do anything for the mission, Roque is the ruthless one, Pooch is the guy with the family, Cougar’s the quiet sniper type, Jensen’s the wiseguy hacker and Aisha’s the volatile one they don’t know they can trust. It’s all been done before.)
In the first three or so issues the action and gore seems over the top — I didn’t need to see two different people licking blood off a gun/knife to know they’re badasses, their actions just told me so. But eventually everything smoothes out, and once The Losers gets going, it’s a 32 issue joyride of espionage, killing, dirty men and even dirtier secrets. The plot is as thick as any international espionage tale can get, there’s full blown action in every issue yet it never gets tiring, and eventually I got to care for each of the Losers in their own way.
It was just damned fun.
The art, though — God, the art. I just don’t understand why it seems like every gritty, dirty, R-rated comic has to have art that looks like someone took an old sketch book of people and went over it with pens before throwing some color on there and calling it a day.
Granted, there are times the style works, but overall, I can’t deal with it on a regular basis. I like having clean lines so I can understand what the hell is going on and who’s talking, especially with a story as dense as this one. Or you could say the art is a choice to keep the reader off balance and unsure of the endgame, just like the characters. Whatever floats your boat, I guess.
I decided to read The Losers because of the buzz for the upcoming movie, and now that I’ve read it, the trailer gives me a whole new reason to be excited. Everyone is cast perfectly (especially Chris Evans ♥ and Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and the tone seems to take on just what the book is, though it seems a bit lighter, which is probably for the best.
I’ve watched it about fifty times since I finished reading The Losers, and will probably go watch it fifty more now. Cannot WAIT.