The Breaking of so Great a Thing isn’t a graphic novel to pick up at random. Anyone who does will be met with a multitude of characters, no clear definition, a threat understood as grave, and conclusions that will transmit as out of left field. But then Suicide Risk has been a complete project from day one as it’s peeled back layer after layer from Mike Carey’s intriguing plot, each new revelation turning a screw and opening another door. With The Breaking of so Great a Thing it comes to an end, so just trying this would be like reading the final chapter of Harry Potter first. It’s all good, but start with Grudge War.

For once Carey opens a collection by picking up straight away on the cliffhanger that ended Scorched Earth. It’s not good news for the group we’ve now come to view as heroes, at least one of whom is now dead. Throughout Suicide Risk a writing quirk Carey’s repeatedly employs to good effect is the return of character who seemed inconsequential or whose moment seemed to have passed, someone we’ve forgotten. He does it again. What’s also admirable is how many of the pieces that slot together to produce such an effective finale have been shown over the previous books. Anyone who’s been paying close attention may be able to work some out, but the chances are that Carey’s slipped most by you. Something he’s been good at is blindsiding as to the true threat, and in a way that’s what he does again here, although very satisfyingly.

All art is by Elisa Casagrande, and as the threats this time are more conceptual than a super powered mash-up, all is well. There’s a requirement to stretch some boundaries, almost to drop into the abstract, and yet every page still has poise and elegance to it.

Add a nice sense of symmetry and that neatly encapsulates Carey’s finishing touches to the series. It’s been engrossing and unpredictable and has a greater depth than cinema superheroes. This last volume was published in 2016, but it’s a far better read than the majority of superhero series since.