03 February 2010


I just finished COWARD, the first volume of Marvel's CRIMINAL, a noir comic series by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips. It's brilliant stuff, and I can't wait to read the rest. I was introduced to Criminal via a short piece in Dark Horse's Noir collection, which I blogged about recently. The storytelling is so crisp and sure-handed, nothing seems out-of-place, and it deftly works in flashbacks and character development along with action. The protagonist of the story is a professional thief with a powerful instinct for self-preservation. As a result, he's a meticulous planner, obsessing over the smallest details in order to avoid personal risk. Our "coward" is more than willing to walk away from a payday if he thinks the job is too dangerous. Naturally, he gets involved in a scheme that starts to spiral out of control, and his personal loyalties and his fanatical adherence to his own "rules" are put to the test. The inks and colors are first-rate, adding a brooding, danger-laden atmosphere to the story. These guys are one hell of a tag-team and I suggest you go out and buy their stuff. I also recently read their pulpy, villainous super-hero tale INCOGNITO, which is also terrific. Both books re-imagine the rich landscape of American pulp, action-adventure, crime, and noir fiction in a post-modern world. The fact that they are beautiful visual art pieces as well only makes them more appealing!

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