Criminal (2019) #4 Review

by Nathan Koffler on April 24, 2019

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colorist: Jacob Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics

Reading issues of Criminal every month is an entire experience. We’re four issues deep and each one is incredibly captivating. I become entranced once I begin each issue and find myself truly feeling like I’m on the wild ride that the characters are on.

This characteristic was especially powerful in this fourth issue. We join Ricky Lawless in the middle of a meth binge that has been going on for several days. The anxiety that Ricky is experiencing because of the meth is so well written and illustrated that I felt it with him throughout the issue. The more I read, the more I also felt exhausted for Ricky, and that is because of how well Ed Brubaker and Sean and Jacob Phillips made that exhaustion clear. And more importantly, the uncomfortableness in the issue is so damn entertaining, which didn’t allow me to want to take a break from the second-hand meth binge.

The connections, both big and small, to characters and situations from past arcs make reading the new series seem so much more legitimate. For example, the Lawless family are becoming so real to me, which is making the stories in the series even more interesting.

There is a reason Brubaker and Phillips are a respected comic book writing team. The storytelling and artwork are both so good on their own and together, they morph into absolute greatness. This team is telling some of the most amusing crime stories in comic books and they’re doing it better than anyone else.

The storytelling is set at the perfect pace and the artwork sets the perfect tone. This fourth issue is dark, depressing, and exciting, yet there is something extremely beautiful about all of it as well. This team knows how to execute this flawlessly and lucky for us, we get to experience this magic every month.

Our Score:


A Look Inside