Tag Archives: ed brubaker

Preview: Criminal #8

Criminal #8

(W) Ed Brubaker (A) Jacob Phillips (A/CA) Sean Phillips
In Shops: Sep 25, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Teeg Lawless is on his way to living the high life, planning the kind of score you can retire on… but only if nothing goes wrong. The story of the last days of series favorite Teeg Lawless continues as BRUBAKER and PHILLIPS continue to deliver the best monthly comic on the market!

And as always, CRIMINAL contains back page art and articles only found in the single issues.

Criminal #8

Preview: Criminal #7

Criminal #7

(W) Ed Brubaker (A) Jacob Phillips (A/CA) Sean Phillips
In Shops: Aug 21, 2019
SRP: $3.99

The best monthly comic on the market keeps the hits coming! Young Ricky Lawless and Leo (from CRIMINAL, VOL. 1: COWARD) take the spotlight this issue, as the epic story of the death of Teeg Lawless continues! As always, CRIMINAL contains back page art and articles only found in the single issues.

Criminal #7

Preview: Criminal #6

Criminal #6

(W) Ed Brubaker (A/CA) Sean Phillips
In Shops: Jul 10, 2019
SRP: $3.99

Teeg Lawless falls in love for the first time, and it might be the worst decision he ever made. THE SUMMER OF ’88-the story of the last days of Teeg Lawless-continues! As always, CRIMINAL contains back page art and articles only found in the single issues.

Criminal #6

Underrated: Incognito

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Incognito


My local comic shop recently got the hardcover edition of Incognito in, and it last all of ten minutes on the table where it was in line for pricing as I picked it up and read what amounted to half the first issue before scooping it up before it ever actually made it to the shelf.

Written by Ed Brubaker, with art by Sean Phillips and colours by Val Staples, the hardcover collects both Incognito and the sequel Incognito: Bad Influences within its 360-odd pages as well an essay, a series cover gallery and some interesting process pieces. If you’ve read any of Brubaker and Phillips other work together, such as Criminal, Fatale or Kill Or Be Killed, then you probably have an idea what you’re in for. If you don’t… well, let’s just say you’re in for a very compelling story that you’ll probably want to read multiple times.

If you want to read the series’ synopsis, it’s below. If you don’t… well, skip the next paragraph, I guess. Either way, you’ll find the core premise of the comic below.

What if you were an ex-super villain hiding out in Witness Protection… but all you could think about were the days when the rules didn’t apply to you? Could you be a humdrum office clerk after being the best at years of leaving destruction in your wake? And what if you couldn’t stand it? What would you do then? 

This story is steeped in the pulp fiction of the 30’s and 40’s, stories that undeniably inspired the superhero fiction of today. Brubaker takes those early influences and fills out a world that has descended from them; there’s a very clear path in Incognito back to characters like the Shadow and the Spider (or rather Brubaker’s version thereof), and it gives the reader the sense that we’re barely scratching the surface with the characters and history revealed through the course of the hardcover’s 360-odd pages.

I was immediately taken in by the story as we learned more about Zack Overkill and how he went from a heavy hitting super villain to a lowly file clerk barely noticed by his coworkers. We see flashes of his mandated psychiatric appointments, the oh-so-real struggles he’s facing in a life that he’s not accustomed too. If you remove the super powered aspect from the opening part of the story, you can see a man struggling with his mental health amidst an unfulfilling life of boredom and depression. Is it any wonder that he eventually turns to drugs in order to find an escape?

Zach Overkill is an oddly likable guy despite never hiding (at least from us) what kind of man he used to be; whether this story is about his trying to find redemption, or a larger tale about whether a leopard can truly change its spots is one of the best parts about this book. Brubaker asks you not whether you can change for the better after making a horrible series of life choices, but whether others can accept your change. Whether they truly believe it, or if once they’ve labelled you a villain then that’s how they will always see you.

I should have expected good stuff from this book, but I wasn’t quite prepared with just how good it would be.

In a story that can be so much to so many, we’re left asking ourselves who we really are; are you really the person you think you are, or are you just a product of what this world has made you?


Join us next week where there will doubtless be another movie, series, comic or comic related thing discussed that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Review: Criminal #5

Criminal #5

Criminal #5 is the beginning of a new storyline, “Cruel Summer,” a perfect starting point for new readers. Dan Farraday, private detective and skip-tracer, comes to town looking for a dangerous woman. Taking place in 1988, the issue kicks off the last days of Teeg Lawless. Lawless is a character who is at the center of so much of Criminal in various ways. But, writer Ed Brubaker has crafted an issue and series you don’t need to know that.

Brubaker has crafted the perfect example of what makes this series work in Criminal #5. For those who have never read an issue, you can pick it up and enjoy its detective noir. It’s a simple story of a private investigator attempting to track down a woman. But, for those who have read the series for a long time, it becomes so much more by the end. It’s enjoyable on multiple levels.

But Brubaker also makes sure to focus on the characters, not just the familiar tropes. Farraday as a character has depth that’s revealed as the story progresses. At first he’s the simple detective. He’s then revealed to have had a rough life which partially drives him now. Then, his experiences in Vietnam drives home his motivation for what he does.

The art by Sean Phillips and colorist Jacob Phillips as usual is amazing. It uses all of the familiar visual queues we’d expect from this sort of story. There’s a cool and sexiness about it all mixed with some danger. Just engrossing visuals to match an engrossing story.

Criminal #5 is as amazing as I’d expect. It continues one of the best comics out today and that’s not even counting all of the extra material included in the issue. This is a perfect issue to hop on and check out what you’re missing and long time readers will be excited to see where this goes.

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips Color: Jacob Phillips
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Criminal #2 and #3 are Going Back to Print and Criminal #5 Gets an Overship

Ed Brubaker has announced in his newsletter that Criminal #2 and #3 are both going back to print. This is the latest volume to his praised series with artist Sean Phillips.

The two issues make up the “Bad Weekend” storyline that blends fantasy and reality revolving around a comic creator and a comic convention that looks a lot like one in San Diego.

The demand for the single issues keep growing so a new printing, with a different color logo, is happening. You can read our review of Criminal #2 and Criminal #3.

Criminal #3 2nd printing

“Bad Weekend” is also getting collected with eight pages of added scenes. It’ll be released in both hardback and softback editions.

Criminal #5 comes to shelves June 5 and due to sellouts, comic shops are getting an overship of 50% more than they ordered at no additional cost. It kicks off a new jumping on point and is a perfect start for new readers.

Criminal #5

Review: Criminal #4

Criminal #4

A breathtaking single-issue story finds Ricky Lawless caught in the grip of violence and double cross after a robbery.

Even the worst issue of Criminal is so far ahead and above so much of what’s out there in comics today. Criminal #4 is the weakest of the issues for this new series released so far but it’s still so beyond entertaining and well written. A standalone issue, it follows Ricky Lawless tweaking from drugs and falling further into a mess he’s created.

Writer Ed Brubaker, artist Sean Phillips, and colorist Jacob Phillips craft an issue that anyone can pick up and enjoy but at the same time ties into the greater tapestry that is, and has, been woven. We see a criminal, a drug user, out of control, and it’s not until much later in the comic that everything truly impacts and comes together.

Instead, the trio of creators focus on the spiraling insanity that comes with a bender including paranoia and more. It’s a story of tragedy on multiple levels and also of someone trying to do good but resulting in nothing but bad.

Like so much they’ve done with other characters, Ricky isn’t completely bad. We’re presented with a somewhat sympathetic character who goes from a junkie to someone trying to do some good. But, that good is actual shit sucking in all who get in to his orbit. Every small detail has another side to it creating a world of gray.

As always, the single issue contains back page art and articles you won’t find in the trades delivering an extra that’s not needed when a story is this quality.

Criminal #4 is a depressing comic in so many ways but it also is gripping an done of the best comics of the week.

Story: Ed Brubaker Art: Sean Phillips Color: Jacob Phillips
Story: 8.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Criminal #4

Criminal #4

(W) Ed Brubaker (A) Jacob Phillips (A/CA) Sean Phillips
In Shops: Apr 24, 2019
SRP: $3.99

A breathtaking single-issue story finds Ricky Lawless caught in the grip of violence and double cross after a robbery.

As always, CRIMINAL contains back page art and articles only found in the single issues.

Criminal #4

Criminal Expands its Bad Weekend

Bad Weekend

The second and third issues of Ed Brubaker and Sean PhillippsCriminal was a meta story revolving around two comic creators and a convention which had a lot in common with San Diego Comic-Con. In time for the upcoming San Diego Comic-Con a new edition of “Bad Weekend” will be released with all-new material.

The story focuses on Hal Crane who uses his trip to a convention to find out what happened to some missing artowkr.

Published by Image Comics, the new hardcover edition will feature expanded scenes and is being described as “expanded and remastered.”

Bad Weekend will be released July 10 in comic book stores, with a July 16 release date for bookstores.

You can read our review of the second and third issues. “Bad Weekend” is available for pre-order now.

Review: Criminal #3

Criminal #3

Jacob’s weekend taking care of his old mentor takes a turn for the worse.

I hate throwing the word “perfection” around a lot but Criminal #3 is damn near perfection. Writer Ed Brubaker, artist Sean Phillips, and colorist Jacob Phillips have put together an issue that’s pulp crime but also beyond touching. This isn’t your typical story about a robbery, it’s about an industry that’ll abuse you, spit you out, and bring out the worst.

The second part of “The Longest Weekend,” the story follows Jacob and his former boss Hal Crane, two comic industry vets and different points in their careers. This issue, like the last, feels like a blend of fact and fiction as it continues to explore the dark side of the comic business. In some ways exaggerated, in other ways not, it winds up being a tragic story with an ending that’ll get you to gasp in a way. It’s tragic. It’s sad. It’s entertaining. It’s one of the best comics out this week.

The art, as usual, is amazing. The style is perfect for this type of story and this trio of creators create a blend of story and art that is unparalleled in this industry. Each character tells a story on their own with something as simple as their body language and stance. The use of color is key here too as it not only clues us in to the past or present but also helps set the mood even more so than the dialogue at times.

The issue is amazing blending fact and fiction to deliver a comic that entertains but will also leave you pondering the truth of it all. Criminal is three issues in and one of the best comics on the market (again). It’s not too late to dive in as this is a comic that should be on everyone’s pull list.

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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