Reviewer: Andrea Speed firstname.lastname@example.org
Quick Rating: Great
Riley heads home to bury his father, but finds his troubles following him.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colors: Val Staples
Cover Art: Sean Phillips
Publisher: Marvel Icon
This new arc of Criminal seems to be tackling the poison of nostalgia all wrapped up in a solid noir story. I’m going to try hard to be vague and not spoil anything, but if you really want to read it with absolutely no clue what it’s about, go no further. We good? Okay.
Riley returns to his hometown from a long time away, and much has changed … and much hasn’t. His life is so screwed up now he looks back on his childhood with a candy coated hindsight that seems far too sanitized for anyone’s good. But it’s easy to understand why he’s looking back on the past with such fondness. His father just died, he’s discovered some awful things about his wife, and his father-in-law seems to be king of the douchebags. How could a time past not look great compared to this sad present? The issue is mostly set up, but it’s a good set up, and it takes quite a dark turn at the end that makes everything worthwhile.
There’s also a bit of a satirical message here about comics themselves, namely a poke at the Wertham hysteria that led to the now defunct “comics code”. I’m not going to say more, but pre comic code comics plays a part in the story.
The art, as always, is stellar, even as it whips wildly back and forth between the usual neo-noir stylings and the more Archie like flashbacks, which are extremely well done. The coloring is deeper in the current day sequences, and becomes lighter and brighter in the flashbacks. It’s all just a treat for the eyes. Phillips and Staples have rarely been better.
This is an excellent jumping on point for new readers, so if you’ve never read a Criminal comic before, why not start here?