My comics reading has a definite super hero bent. If I go off book, my tendency is to head towards fantasy or science fiction. The crime genre really isn’t even on my radar when I am browsing at my local comic shop.
I have to thank Aron for changing my perspective on this. He provided me with Volume two of Thief of Thieves.
Before the howls of nerdrage begin, I am aware I am not starting at the beginning. I have never had the need to start at that point. My gestalt is strong enough that I fill in the blanks to make the reading easy. When I go back to the beginning, I am pleasantly surprised when things I had filled are true or handled even better.
This story arc begins as Conrad’s son, Augustus, has been rescued from several jobs gone wrong. He is not as good a thief as his father. Their first section of the story is entitles Free but not clear. We get to watch as the botched job just keeps coming back to haunt Augustus. The cops make sure they know they are watching him. The cartel he was working for want their money and are willing to make him pay dearly for it. Conrad is struggling to make his retirement stick. The problem is that all the effort to keep his son free means that lots of people are owed. Their price is to keep him in the game.
Asmus’ storytelling flows very well. He utilizes flashbacks sporadically throughout the story. Through these flashbacks we are given a better understanding of Conrad and Augustus. They illustrate the build-up of a very hostile relations between father and son. You get to see Conrad struggling to keep his son out of the business and failing miserably. They also illustrate how Augustus landed in the hot water that he is in currently. The tension just keeps ratcheting up as Augustus continues failing to fulfill the demands of the Cartel eventually placing his girlfriend in danger.
Shawn Martinbrough’s art and Felix Serrano’s colors are magnificent. The lines are quick and clean conveying a sense of vibrancy that I did not expect from a crime story. I loved the cool feeling that the colors give each panel and his shading technique is atmospheric without being heavy handed. There is one particular page that I kept coming back to enjoy. The two thugs have his girlfriend on the phone talking to him. It is set in a high-rise with a a backdrop of the city skyline at sunset. You get the sense of urgency from the characters in this one page while still feeling the languid splendor of where this horrible tableau is occurring. Excellent!
The protagonists of this piece are not nice people. The story goes to some length to make sure you understand this. Despite this I still wanted to see their story unfold and had a definite desire to see a good ending come out of it for them. There are plenty of twists and turns in this tale that I was riveted. I devoured the book in well under thirty minutes. I then went back to take the time to savor the gorgeous art as well.
When I start in the middle of a series, my highest for of praise is that I want to pick up the beginning. I plan on checking out my local comic shop for volume one this evening.