REVIEW: 'Suicide Jockeys' #2 by Rylend Grant, Davi Leon Dias, and Iwan Joko Triyono

 

SUICIDE JOCKEYS #2

Writer: Rylend Grant

Artist: Davi Leon Dias

Colorist: Iwan Joko Triyono

Letterer: HdE

Producer: RJ Hendricks

Story Consultant: Brad Warner

Publisher: Source Point Press

Release Date: September 29, 2021

Cover Price: $3.99

After learning that his lost love might still be alive, adrift somewhere in the vast ocean of space and time, Denver Wallace must convince his estranged team to set aside years of bad blood, saddle up, and bring her back home. Also, there's a pretty funny reality show subplot, a panel where a dog takes a massive dump, and you know... plenty of cool monster-fighting stuff.

Score:

★★★★☆ (4/5)

After an explosive debut last month, 'Suicide Jockeys' established itself as rollicking action drama straight out of the 80s with all the fun and attitude you'd expect. It involved what comic book fans love - time travel, giant robots, kaijus, mechanized warships that assemble, and enough biting satire about fandom to elicit genuine laughs. The aftermath of a life-altering event caused the members of an elite squad of 'Suicide Jockeys' to go their separate ways. Years later, their disgraced leader, Denver Wallace, bitter, cynical, living in a drunken stupor at the venue of a pop culture con he's begrudgingly attending, gets the offer of a lifetime - a chance to save a comrade and find redemption. 

 I have to applaud writer Rylend Grant for resisting the urge the plow through this issue where Wallace puts the band together. It would have been easy to quickly have Wallace convince his former teammates to join him in the hopes of getting Naomi back and throw them back in their ships for more bombastic action right away. Even though the series is built as a blockbuster-type action series, Grant doesn't rush the character moments. There's a lot of bad blood, resentment, disappointment, and anger directed at Wallace by his former pilots. It doesn't get as conveniently overlooked as you might expect. These old wounds haven't healed and Baiju, Yun, name, name, and name make it clearly known to him. Grant respects his characters enough to give them a backbone and not kowtow to the lead protagonist. It adds the character development and depth you'd want in an ensemble cast. 

Despite not having any action in this issue, Davi Leon Dias and Iwan Joko Triyono, are just as adept at finding the pace and rhythm of the tension in uncomfortable scenes. It's the body language, the facial expressions, of characters who are skeptical, resentful, angry, bewildered, ashamed, and grateful. Dias finds the humanity in each character that supports the scripted emotions but comes through with storytelling where even words aren't needed. Triyono's colors flesh out Dias' designs with warm colors that don't overwhelm the panels but instead complement and support the emotional gravity of the scenes. 

'Suicide Jockeys' #2 puts the hold on over-the-top action to give the characters a sincere 'come to Jesus' moment, an opportunity to find accountability and confront old grudges. The team is fleshed out and readers are given a chance to get to know them and care about them as they come together once again. This gives the story a solid foundation as things are about to get crazy. It's the calm before the storm and another solid issue. 


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