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Review: The Banks

The Banks

White Collar was one of those shows that USA Network had on for a few years which both charmed and beguiled viewers. It followed a unique relationship between an FBI agent and a former grifter as they investigate white-collar crimes. Its starred Matt Bomer, Tim DeKay, Tiffani Thiessen, and the immortal Diahann Carroll, in a show which explored both sides of the line of the law, often referring to Bomer’s character’s past and previous proclivities. It really elevated the buddy comedy genre in ways that many shows have tried to imitate since.

What was fascinating was how the show delved deep into the criminal underworld and gave viewers a deep dive into con artist tradecraft. As a writer I often wondered about the roads not taken in stories, and one of those within the show was the backstory of Carroll’s husband, who was also a con man. I felt it would have been better to show this story than to allude to it as the show did through its entire run. The idea of a family of thieves was something I wished W.E.B. Griffin would have tackled in his prolific career. Roxane Gay and Ming Doyle’s beautifully woven The Banks gives us a family whose business is about the next big score and they live by one code, don’t get caught and don’t get greedy.

We’re taken to 1972 Evanston, Illinois, where we meet Clara Banks, a shrewd robber whose skill set as a safecracker has made one of the best in all of Chicago. She develops a family business which is far from your typical. The story weaves through the past to the present delivering an interesting family of thieves and eventually leading to a score and revenge.

Overall, an excellent and intricately told story about a family whose business is more than ill-gotten gains, as love and legacy is paramount to everything. The story by Gay is immense, heartfelt, and harrowing. The art by the creative team is beautiful. Altogether, a story that does more than add sepia tones to the crime noir genre but elevates it a new standard of storytelling.

Story: Roxane Gay
Art: Ming Doyle, Jordie Bellaire, Ariana Maher, Jared K Fletcher,
and Jeff Powell
Story: 10 Art: 9.8 Overall: 9.9 Recommendation: Buy

Almost American