Thanksgiving / Black Friday Sale 2017
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Home » Reviews

Guest Review – Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #2

Submitted by on August 3, 2011 – 8:43 amNo Comment

The following is by guest reviewer Bill Delancey, a customer at Phantom of the Attic.

Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #2
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Sean Phillips and Val Staples

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips’ “Criminal: The Last of the Innocent” issue number two picks up right where the first left off and doesn’t miss a beat.

Ed Brubaker, to his credit, does something with this issue that he hasn’t ever really done before in the Criminal series. He takes Riley Richards, our main character and narrator, and throughout the course of the issue he makes him more and more unlikable. One of the major appeals of all of the Criminal stories was the main character was very easy to root for, no matter the situation. From Leo, who was planning a robbery and killing police, in the first series all the way through Tracy as the world’s worst hit man in the latest, the main characters have always been portrayed as likeable and bordering on sympathetic. With Riley, Brubaker has dared the audience to hate the character. This new side of the character sets up the rest of this story arc as a bit more of a mystery than it started out.

As for the artwork, it needs to be mentioned about Sean Phillips’ that in first two issues he is keeping the pace and choreographing the book without the use of splash pages. He uses simple, economical panel layouts that work in perfect rhythm with the story and words on the page. The fact that he also letters the book himself adds to the seamless transition between pictures and words. Including the cover and the pinup, that Phillips adds to book, it makes the artwork alone worth the price of admission. Phillips is turning in some of the best work he has ever done with Brubaker, and his career in general, on this book. It isn’t to be missed. One scene of note that showcases the Brubaker/Phillips collaboration at its finest comes in the last act of the book. The three page scene, involving Riley Richards doing what is arguably the most heinous act of the issue, is handled with such talent by the writer and artist that what could have come off as cheap or gimmicky, comes off as heartbreaking. The scene lets the readers know exactly how far Riley is willing to go and that collateral damage doesn’t mean anything to him. It comes off as the most memorable few pages in the book, and with what happens on the last page, that is saying a lot.

Issue two lives up the high expectations from the first and leaves the story hanging enough to keep the reader coming back for the next. Brubaker and Phillips deliver in a big way. Highly recommended.

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