With Andy Diggle taking over the writing duties on Daredevil, starting with the Dark Reign: The List tie-in in September, I saw it as my duty to take a look at the writer’s previous and ongoing work and post some of my thoughts.
So far, I’ve been following Diggle’s Dark Reign: Hawkeye mini and his run on the Thunderbolts. I’ve also read the trade collecting the stand alone mini-series Hellblazer: Lady Constantine and his own creation, and the subject for this post, The Losers.
It’s been a very fun ride so far and I feel convinced that Diggle is perfectly capable of pulling off a Daredevil that might just be different enough to give the title the shot in the arm that even a sworn Brubaker fan like myself is beginning to feel that it needs, while staying in the familiar milieu that has made the character so successful. But this post isn’t about Daredevil specifically, but about The Losers. So, let’s get on with it, shall we?
I’m going to start by going off on a brief tangent and admit that I was a huge fan of the first couple of seasons of Prison Break. It had intrigue, action, and a smart plot that connected the little people to the big players with the big guns in unexpected ways. There were clever twists in every episode that managed to surprise the viewer without seeming too contrived. The show was a smash hit, so much so that its life span kept getting extended with one season after another while the plot began to suffer. Eventually, I gave up. Reading The Losers was, for me, an experience reminiscent of watching the first two seasons of Prison break, equipped with the timely ending the television show didn’t have (to those still watching it, did it ever get back on track?).
Starring an eclectic former black ops team who turns on their mysterious CIA handler when left for dead in Afghanistan while on a mission, the thirty-two issue series is smart action at its best. Diggle manages to pile layer after layer of intrigue without ever confusing the reader, and that’s quite a feat with a story this long and involving this many players. What impresses me the most, though, is how intelligent the writing is. It is all too often the case that, in order for the protagonists to seem appropriately cunning, their adversary by default comes across as completely incompetent. That is never the case here. Instead of leaving the “wait, that doesn’t work” bit to the scrutinizing reader, the writer in this case seems to have error-proofed every single scenario. That’s not to say that there aren’t fantastical elements to this tale, or improbable events and circumstances, but that’s in the nature of the genre, and this particular thrill-ride is free of contrived cop-outs and annoying plot holes. There’s an attention to detail at every juncture that keeps the story feeling real. Diggle also manages to keep the entire story very even-paced, and I can’t think of any passage where there is any noticeable dip in quality or tension.