a crime \ noir graphic novel< read all 1 reviews
Criminal is a crime \ noir comic published by Marvel's Icon imprint. It is a creator owned series and has run on and off since 2006. This volume contains the first 13 issues of the series.
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips have worked together on a number of projects over the years. The team can be found in the pages of Scene of the Crime, Sleeper, a number of superhero books, and their latest creator owned series Incognito.
This handsome hardcover collection can be broken into four parts: the Coward, Lawless, and The Dead and The Dying story arcs and an extras section.
Coward is my favorite story in the bunch; it is the story of a cautious but brilliant thief who gets caught up in a messy heist. Like every arc in the series, Coward is loaded with though guys, crooks, and feme fatales doing bad things to one another, however Coward's stands above the rest of the Criminal arcs due to Leo's interactions with the characters around him. While dealing with the heist he also must take care of an elderly man with Alzheimer’s and a serious heroin problem.
The second arc in this collection is Lawless, a story focusing on Tracy Lawless, an AWOL solider who is looking into the murder of his brother. Like any good noir the plot thickens from there and things go poorly for Tracy.
The Dead and the Dying is the final story arc collected here. This arc contains three interrelated stories dealing with Tracy's father's life of crime in the 1970's. The sense of history that Brubaker is developing in the Criminal universe is really on display here as we see supporting characters and family members from previous story arcs in lead roles here.
The forth section of the book contains cover materials, paintings, essays and a few short comics from various sources.
Brubaker's writing is as sharp as ever here. The plots are tightly constructed and extremely entertaining; the characters run the gauntlet from loveable to loath-able. Phillip's are is brilliant- some of the best of his career. He works in tightly grided pages with many small panels; no wide screen, splash-page filled layouts here, just great story telling. Phillip's rough pencil's and liberal use of black ink match the tone of the script perfectly. The unsung hero of Criminal, however, is colorist Val Staples. His simple, moody coloring enhances Phillips work better than any other colorist. The three authors operate like a cohesive machine, fully aware of their individual roles in the production. If only all comics could have this sort of synergy.
What did you think of this review?