Posted on: May 16th, 2012 REVIEW: Thief of Thieves #4
Today, kids, we talk about romanticism. Calm down. No flowers and sonnets. Today we talk about true romantics. Those so passionate about their work and ambitions, that they sacrifice their relationships and well-being. There’s a glorified, endearing quality to these folks. They fight every step of the way, chasing whatever dream it is, and almost always we see the sense of loss and regret when they finally realize it isn’t all they thought. In this case, we’re talking a life of crime in Image’s ongoing Thief of Thieves.
I like crime books. Whether it be noir, procedurals, drama or thrillers-I dig it. So I look at a book like Parker: The Hunter, and I enjoyed it. But I enjoyed the brains, not the characters. In fact, a book like that, I absolutely hate the characters. What if you had all the sexy grit of Parker, but you put some heart into it? Now that? That I can get behind. That is what Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, Shawn Martinbrough and Felix Serrano give us here.
I read the main character, Redmond, like George Clooney. Screw you, you can’t take that away from me. I blame Ocean’s Eleven. Here’s a guy, getting up in the years-looking at his life choices and seeing how he has affected the lives of others. We see a man that feels untouchable, yet everyone around him is hurting. Now he’s looking to retire from thievery and it’s a bit too little, too late.
I love the fact that this reads like a tragedy but it’s awfully subtle. Nick Spencer does a remarkable job at scripting a sad story inside wit, flirtation and action. Truthfully, you just don’t see that level of nuance in most books, let alone comic books. To be fair, he gets a good amount of help from the art. The artist/colorist team of Martinbrough and Serrano just nail it here. For me, it’s all in the facial expressions. Between the terror in an interrogation room, complete heartbreak of the ex-wife, and just the tired abandonment of Redmond, it just punches you square in the gut without even reading the dialogue. Which leads to another punch. And the only thing worse than being punched, is being punched twice.
Here’s something I don’t often talk about: the letterer. An integral part of the comic book, right? But, honestly, we often don’t recognize quality lettering. Maybe…because…you don’t often see remarkable lettering. Rus Wooton letters so remarkably, that I recognize his letters as impressive. Think about your average word balloon. Do you often see dialogue beats and dramatic emphasis? Because we deal in a print medium that is very visual, creators often rely upon the art or the dialogue to drive home important parts of the story. So, usually, the characters seldom “act”. They are simply artistic renderings of dialogue. Who is responsible for the performance? The person behind the pencil and the person delivering the text. Whether it’s Wooton’s understanding of Kirkman’s story and Spencer’s words, or the content therein-I’m not sure. But either way, it makes the characters real to me. And that’s awesome.
Thief of Thieves has been one of my favorite books on my pull list recently. Pick it up. You’re going to get sucked into these characters.