1988- Ricky Lawless steals a diamond necklace from a local legend to bail his dad Teeg out of jail, inadvertantly setting his father at financial odds with Sebastian Hyde, a local crime boss. When Ricky ripped off Mack the Monster he set off a chain of events that would change his and his fathers lives forever. Luckily Teeg has his eyes on one last big score that should settle him and Hyde up, if he manages to pull it off!
Criminal is back, baby! My god it feels so great to have a new chapter of Criminal, which is one of my top 5 series all time. I adore Ed Brubaker (he is firmly on my “buy everything he writes” list) and my hopes for this series are astronomical. I’m so excited that this time around it’s an ongoing for what I consider Brubaker and frequent collaborator Sean Phillips’ ultimate series! I say it pretty frequently but if you haven’t read all 7 volumes of Criminal and the recent unnoficial Criminal OGN My Heroes have Always Been Junkies you are missing out and need to rectify that immediately.
I loved the way this single issue instantly wove it’s way into the mythos of the previous miniseries, including small cameos from Leo Patterson and Sebastian Hyde, centering a large chunk of the issue on rarely seen Ricky Lawless (younger brother of series favorite Tracy Lawless) and seeming to center a lot on the old bastard himself, Teeg Lawless. The opening scene of Ricky and Mack the Monster was phenomenal and felt so very organic if anyone has ever dealt with an elderly person whose mind is slipping. Ricky’s facial expressions speak volumes in this devious scene.
The art by Sean Phillips is phenomenal as always, I absolutely love his work. (I recently picked up a Conan short he drew called White Death in Robert E. Howard’s Savage Sword, so cool!) He seems to get better every time I see him, from Kill or be Killed to the aforementioned OGN with the name I don’t want to type out again, the man is a titan. The youthful face of Ricky contrasts so perfectly with grizzled old Teeg, every panel is worth close inspection.
This is the second book colored by Sean’s son Jacob Phillips, whom longtime Criminal fans may recall having done some illustrations in the back of book articles in the past. If this book is any indication I’m going to love him as a third collaborator in the Brubaker/ Phillips universe. Especially with Kill or be Killed colorist Elizabeth Breitweiser killing it with Steve Epting in TKO Comics’ Sara and Lee Weeks in Batman! This is very much a team I can get behind, and the family angle is super cool!
I love that for the articles section (for the uninitiated Criminal comes with articles to help the noir feel, read them.) had a cheat sheet, helping to strengthen the already very new reader friendly first issue of the new series. Also included is the customary letter from big papa Ed Brubaker himself, who doesn’t do social media, as well as Blood Simple, an article by Kim Morgan regarding a Coen Brothers movie.
If you didn't buy this book I'm sorry, you failed at NCBD 1/9/19. Fix your deficiency immediately or be ridiculed for all time by your more well read, better looking friends. But all you will receive from me is pity for the disservice you've done yourself.
Criminal #1: The Return of Crime!
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9.5/109.5/10
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