Review: Criminal #1

Teeg Lawless is back in town. But he finds himself in more trouble than ever, thanks to his delinquent teenage son-and this time, fists and bullets may not be enough to solve his problems.

If you’ve never read Ed Brubaker and Sean PhillipsCriminal, you’ve been missing out. For about 8 volumes (depending on what you want to count) the series has been some of the best crime/noir comics our there and just some of the best comics out there period. After a too long break, they’re back with a monthly series that’s a perfect jumping on point.

To say Criminal #1 is good is selling it short. This is one hell of a start and is the type of poetic storytelling that feels so rare in comics today.

The story again revolves around Teeg Lawless who is fresh out of jail and needs to correct the mistakes of his son who has pissed off the wrong people. It’s classic noir/crime with seedy locations, characters, and situations. It nails it all perfectly and it’s a build up to what the score may be to solve Laweless’ issues and get him the money he needs.

The comic is violent but always goes just up to the line in that. It never crosses it and instead leaves some of the worst to off the page allowing readers to imagine what happened. Brubaker and Phillips know how to perfectly pull that off leaving the reader’s imagination to do the worst of the visuals.

And Phillips is key here. Joined by Jacob Phillips on color, the trio deliver a story and visuals that are, and continue to be, a match made in heaven. This is the perfect combination of creators creating a team that’s some of the best ever in comics. Phillips’ grittier art style is made for this type of story. The characters are all unique and their small details are stories unto themselves.

Beyond the comic, there’s also prose included as well. Kim Morgan delivers an essay on Blood Simple, a
 neo-noir crime film that I’m never seen myself. It’s the intelligent icing on the cake of an already really smart read.

Is the comic good? It’s beyond good, it’s great. Criminal #1 shows that Brubaker and Phillips is a team of creators that are some of the best in the comics business. Criminal #1 is one of the strongest debuts in quite a while and a very welcomed return.

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips Color: Jacob Phillips
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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