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