Andy Diggle, Jock & Shawn Martinbrough
"On their last roll of the dice, the Losers came out ahead and put a major dent in the illegal cashflow of their former employer, the C.I.A. But to stay ahead, they've got to keep pushing their luck—and that means tracking down Max, the ghost-like C.I.A. agent whose existence is hidden even from Company insiders."
Volume two of Andy Diggle’s spectacular action series opens with the Losers hiding out after stealing the hard drive from the Goliath Oil terminal.
The opening chapter for this book is among my favourite moments of the whole series as it helps to establish, not only who the losers are when they’re not in the heat of battle, but what they’ve lost.
We get to see Cougar, haunted by nightmares, returning to Mexico to find some solace in the day of the dead celebrations. Aisha tracks down the girls she helped smuggle into America and finds them tangled up with some very nasty people. Clay, constantly on the job, meets up with his old commander to pump him for info on Max, and Pooch, perhaps most tragically of all, returns home to his family for an all too brief reunion with his children.
All the while, Jenson hacks the hard drive in his underwear….and a pirate hat. Awesome!
These quieter moments are fantastic, I’ll always be a lover of character over action and seeing the group disbanded, able to go on with their real lives for a moment was a real treat and just solidified for me how much I loved and rooted for these characters.
Adrenaline junkies need fear not though as the group are soon thrown into the warzone again, this time battling an army of mercs and even a live volcano in an attempt to steal…something…from an archaeological sight that Max was excavating.
This volume also introduces Marvin Stegler, a CIA agent tasked with finding both the losers and Max and figuring out what exactly is going on in this whole situation. The marks the beginning of an enjoyable sub plot which helps to shed light on some aspects of the story, while also posing much more questions.
The writing is as great as it was in the first volume, as the mystery keeps ramping up you find yourself drawn more and more into it, desperate to learn what’s going to happen next.
The art is great too, though it marks the first instance of an artist other than Jock working on the strip. The first couple of issues in this volume are drawn by Martinbrough. He does a good job but for me, his style is a little too stiff to really work here. It’s not bad, far from it, it’s just not perfect. Ultimately his main crime is…well…not being Jock, who again knocks it out of the park with his issues. These characters just look so good in his style that it feels wrong seeing them drawn by anybody else.
Double down is a great second entry in a series which is nothing but fast paced, heart pumping action throughout. If you read the first volume and found yourself gripped, you can rest safe knowing that volume two is just as good.