Criminal (2019) #8 Review

by Nathan Koffler on September 25, 2019

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

You can always count on Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips to provide quality issues month after month. The storytelling in this series so far has been remarkable to say the least and it doesn’t appear that Brubaker has any intentions of slowing down. 

Criminal #8 gives us another closer look at Jane and Ricky while also easing the story forward. We get glimpses into several different layers of the story such as the upcoming heist, Jane’s runaway status, Jane’s baggage, Ricky’s baggage, and maybe even others. It’s so impressive that Brubaker is able to add all of these layers in a single issue that takes place in a single day. It’s also just as impressive that we get so much content in an issue and it never feels cluttered or busy. Actually, the issue is quite minimal as it slowly tells a bigger story while also telling smaller ones that may actually be just as important, if not more so, than the bigger one. 

One of the most enjoyable things about this issue for me was the amount of tension that was built over twenty-something pages. As a narrator reveals Jane’s uneasiness, that uneasiness becomes very palpable. Her search for Ricky then continues to build suspense and that suspense leads to quite an ending. The entire story is told with such a perfect pace that it’s hard not to get sucked in immediately. 

These stories contain some amazingly written characters and Brubaker continues to add more and somehow they remain interesting. I love that we barely see Teeg in this issue because, as much as I love reading about him, Jane and Ricky are incredible characters with complicated pasts and stressful current lives which makes them very amusing. I want to get to know them both much more and issues like this eighth one are what I need to do so. The beauty of the writing in this issue is how I now feel like I got to know both Jane and Ricky a little bit more, but I still feel like everything I know about them is an act somehow. This story is full of twists and turns and lots of sad imposters and it has me in its grip.

As always, the artwork from Sean Phillips and Jacob Phillips is as solid and gorgeous as ever. This issue’s artwork does a great job at helping the story build tension. Reading Jane’s apprehension was entertaining and suspenseful but with the added visuals of her going about her day and then searching for Ricky is what helped make that tension so exciting. 

The story, as always, is dark and gritty, but it’s issues like this eighth one that highlight the fact that the writing and artwork work together to create one of the ultimate crime stories with one of the best melancholy atmospheres. The illustrations are the right amount of sexy and gloomy while the colors are perfectly shadowy at the right times and semi-normal at others. 

Once again, Criminal exceeds expectations by releasing an issue that is both heavy and thrilling. Both the writing and artwork are beautifully dark and exciting making it another wonderful entry into an already solid series. 

Our Score:


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