Story by Andy Diggle
Art by Jock
What happens when you double cross five special forces soldiers and leave them for dead? A bloody, world spanning tale of revenge with plenty of espionage, bullets and piled bodies. The Losers, a high velocity kick to the face that serves as a love letter from writer Andy Diggle to Shane Black action movies. The Losers is also attributed to bringing the writing genius of Andy Diggle and the visual flair of Jock’s art into the main stream, as before coming together to make The Losers, neither British artist had worked for an American company, let alone on an ongoing series.
The Losers was originally meant to be a simple four issue miniseries with the story centered around a caper. But the series was quickly picked up by DC/Vertigo to be an ongoing series, which gave birth to Max as the overall antagonist to the crew, as well as the story and character backgrounds being massively expanded upon, swelling the story to a very respectful 32 issue run. Sadly,even though The Losers was awarded an Eagle Award for “Farourite new comic book” in 2004, the single issue sales began to decline half way through the story’s run; although sales of the TPB’s were doing well, proving that this is a story that just didn’t translate well with a month in between issues, something that plagued many Vertigo titles. The TPB’s were reprinted as two volumes in 2010 to coincide with the motion picture adaptation of The Losers; titled “Ante Up”, and “Double Down” respectfully.
Andy Diggle hits the ground running with his first offering to the comic book world, and cements the style of writing that we have come to know and expect from him. He knows his way around an espionage story, and makes the non action scenes just as entertaining and engrossing as when the bullets are flying. For as over the top as some of his action is, Diggle did his best to keep The Losers grounded in reality as much as possible. The characters are believable and very likable, you’ll actually give a damned about them by the end of the story. Diggle wrote each character with a completely different personality, and they all come off as genuine people whose interactions feel as legitimate as it would be in real life, a feat that isn’t as easy to pull off as it sounds.
Jock’s artwork is as integral to The Losers as Diggle’s writing. His bold style gives a very imposing, in your face aspect that is a perfect complement to the story. Although he did not illustrate every issue (I am not afraid to admit that my research skills failed me and I could find a reason why he didn’t do all 32 issues), with artists Shawn Martinbrough, Nick Dragotta, Ale Garza, Ben Oliver and Colin Wilson all contributing their talents to the tale. Jock did however, provide all 32 covers for the series, as well as original art for the TPB reprints, earning him an Eisner Award in 2006 for “Best Cover Artist.”
The Losers is some of the most fun I’ve ever had reading a comic. I had always heard about it, but had never really known much about it. I immediately bought the first TPB (the second wasn’t scheduled to be released for several months still) after seeing the trailer for the movie. The movie, while vastly underrated, is more or less a very watered down version of Diggle’s story, a lot was changed but the tone and characters are spot on. It was the perfect bridge to get me to read the vastly superior comic book. In a medium that is saturated by super powered beings, this simple story of regular human’s on a revenge kick definitely stands out, and is a welcome addition to my bookshelf.
Overall Score: 9/10