Sunday, June 14, 2009

Criminal: Lawless

Isn't it often (usually?) the case that some of the nicest surprises come when you're least expecting them? At last months Bristol Comic Expo I picked up a copy of Criminal by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips and added it to my 'to read' list. Over the past month I've been carrying it around with me intending to read it in a quiet moment but never got as far as removing it from the bag.

I finally found that 'quiet moment' yesterday and - possibly because I had no real expectations - loved every single page of the book and now I have another title on my every increasing 'wants list'!

The story - so far at least - centres on Tracy Lawless, a soldier who is being held in a military prison when he discovers that 10 months earlier his younger brother had been killed. Breaking out of the prison he returns to his old neighbourhood to find out about his brothers death by infiltrating the gang he (the brother) used to belong to.

As we'd expect from the writing of Brubaker the story reads beautifully and the flow doesn't suffer from the use of a couple of 'flashback' scenes (not something I'm generally a fan of). Sean Phillips artwork - with colours from Val Staples - aids in the story-telling perfectly: at times cold, always gritty with a real sense of desperation.

I'm not sure how I'd missed the title until now - it's been running for a couple of years and this is the first time I'd picked it up but I'll be picking up more Criminal (and other Brubaker/Phillips creations) from now on.

Highly recommended.

Criminal: Lawless by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips with colours from Val Staples.
Published by Icon/Marvel Comics, 2007

I've been enjoying following Sean Phillip's blog recently which he updates every day with examples of his work. I find it's interesting to see how a page evolves through thumbnails, pencils and inks. Click here to visit.

Comic Book Resources have published a great feature on Criminal - including an interview with Brubaker and more art from Phillips - click here to visit.