Review: Last Gang in Town #1

Last Gang in Town 1Forget what you know of England, of the “Land of Hope and Glory.” Instead, try damp and depressing, and embrace this miserable island for what it is. Our story kicks off in 1976: the country coming apart at its flared corduroy seams, a decade after the Great Train Robbery, when British crime has gone decidedly soft in the middle.

Time for a new generation of criminals to rise: a band of snotty-nosed heroes driven by destiny and cheap cider, who will strike fear back into the establishment, put art back into crime and crime back into art, and pull off what will become known as the heist of the century.

Last Gang in Town spans three decades, from the punk rock ’70s to the decadent ’80s and beyond, charting the rise, fall and redemption of a group of bandits that changed the face of the criminal underworld and closed the door on a legacy.

Written by Simon Oliver with art by Rufus Dayglo this first issue left me bewildered forcing me stop numerous times to scratch my head and try to figure out what the hell was going on. It’s a first issue that sets up a lot, and explains very little in a style that’s all British in its tone, language, and visuals. If you don’t enjoy British comics, this is one to avoid.

The story unfolds and just throws us into the mix never really pausing to explain who’s who, and why we might care for the various characters. We get a bunch of characters doing bad, and I’m not quite sure why. I’m not saying you can’t have a serious focused on just characters doing bad, but I need to be given a reason to care for their antics, either the antics itself being the draw, or some other hook. I didn’t quite get the sense of either, no matter how much was thrown out there and set up. By the time I got the end, I wasn’t sure what I read.

The art though is impressive and Dayglo provides a look and feel that screams “British comic.” The art is actually a draw in many ways with a look that’s a throwback to the 80s British comics mixed with 70s underground comics. There’s lots of small details added that really make the visuals pop.

As a first issue, I was really underwhelmed by the story, but at the same time, I’m intrigued to see where the series goes. I want to understand it, and I want to enjoy it, but my lack of understanding up from down made it all a little difficult. As a debut Last Gang in Town #1 doesn’t work for me, but leaves me a comic I’d love to see as part of an anthology.

Story: Simon Oliver Art: Rufus Dayglo
Story: 6 Art: 8.2 Overall: 6.3 Recommendation: Pass

Vertigo provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review