Ricky Lawless, high on speed, gets into some trouble, meets some old friends and makes a new enemy. We swing by Criminal staple bar The Undertow and get some teased answers involving Leo Patterson (whom longtime readers may recall as the protagonist of Criminal: Coward) and Ricky pertaining to the death of Teeg Lawless.
Man, I loved this issue, Ricky slowly descends into that twilight you can only find after staying awake for 6 or 7 days, paranoia, poor impulse control and slight hallucinations abound in his claustrophobic world. Tunnel vision has set in and Ricky is in the closing stages of his binge, hours away from the curtains closing. As someone who has been around the block once or twice this is a very familiar road he’s walking. Ed Brubaker is brilliant as always at tying Ricky’s mania into the long term story with some crime, some lies and a super interesting aforementioned tease regarding the nature of Teeg Lawless’ untimely demise.
Sean Phillips and his son/ colorist Jacob Phillips capture this artificially induced fugue state and eventual slip into temporary insanity prior to a slow slide into darkness PERFECTLY. Multiple close face shots serve to highlight Ricky’s face perpetually locked between rage, confusion and suspicion, it’s genuinely surprising he only attacked two people in this issue I feared for every person he spoke to. Brilliant.
I also wanted to note the panel layout, tight slightly erratically sized panels help to bring the reader into Ricky’s mindset, with most of the book comprising of close up shots of reactions and faces. The only splash page in the issue is the final panel, as Ricky begins to sober up, contemplating the fallout from his actions, and of course trying to remember where he put the rest of his speed. Pitch perfect.
A wonderful ride through the darker side of this dark universe. Drugs aren't fear and loathing prose or romance, they're a demon biding it's time to take away everything you care about.
Criminal #4: Ghost and the Darkness
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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