Review by Carroll: Criminal #4 and more.

The world needs more comics like Criminal. The concept is pretty simple: the reluctant, yet expert, criminal with a heart of gold gets sucked into a job that he’s not so sure he should be involved in. Things go wrong – really wrong – and now he and his lady friend/partner are on the run with a few pounds of high grade heroin. Ed Brubaker’s dialogue is the tops (compare it to Bendis’ run on Alias a few years ago) and Sean Phillips’ art is just about perfect. There’s no crazy super powers and there’s no flying saucers. It’s just good old fashioned crime noir.

I love it.

This issue in particular was very good. It’s the penultimate issue in this story arc, entitled “Coward.” People die, get kidnapped, and do drugs. But not necessarily in that order. Some questions get answered and the set up for the conclusion is a pulse-pounder. I don’t think anyone who reads this issue would say, “Eh, I don’t care about what happens.” You have to care, it makes you care. Another thing cool about Criminal? The back content: each issue features an essay or commentary from someone concerning noir fiction. This issue features one of my favorite comedians, and fellow geek, Patton Oswalt talking about an obscure noir film called Blast of Silence. So there’s multiple reasons to pick up Criminal: the story, the art, the dialogue, and back content. What more do you need? Do yourself a favor and pick this book up.

Other comics I read this week (ratings out of 5 stars):
Civil War: The Return – This could have just been done in Civil War: Frontline and the Sentry story was boring. 2 1/2 stars.
Dr. Strange: The Oath #4 – The Doc kills a monster with Hilter’s personal pistol. Yeah, that’s right. 5 stars.
Fables #60Mike Allred on art! The Wild Things! 5 stars.
52 #38 – The Fourth World and the New Gods are coming back. I don’t think the Question is going to really die. 3 1/2 stars.
Silent War #1 – When does this take place? Why is Frazer Irving’s art so bad in this book? I don’t understand. 1 star.

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