Saturday, July 30, 2011

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #2

Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Sean Phillips

One approach to crime writing that I always find interesting is when the main character knows that he's going to commit some sort of heinous crime, and has to go about his usual existence as the only person with that knowledge.  In this case, Riley, our protagonist, has a plan to kill his wife, Felix, and we are left watching him go about the motions before he does the deed.

Brubaker excels at this kind of thing, of course, and so it is fascinating to watch Riley line up his alibis, corrupt his former best friend, and put everything in motion.  The cover tells us how it turns out, but that image would probably be more fitting as the first panel of the next issue.

That we find ourselves so engrossed in the actions of a character that is so unlikeable is a hard thing for a writer to pull off effectively, but it's worked great here.

Another thing that's been working exceptionally well in this arc is the way that Phillips portrays Riley's youth as a series of one-page strips in the Archie comics style (if Archie smoked weed, swore, and had sex that is).  It's a cool visual trick that helps to differentiate this arc of Criminal from all the previous ones.  This is a pretty brilliant book.

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