Criminal #1-3 by Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips

Brubaker and Phillips started this new series at the beginning of the year and have been releasing an issue every month. I decided to dive into the first episode and liked it enough to move on to #2. But 2 and 3 are combined in a book called Bad Weekend, so I had to read 3 also, right? I’ll tell you a bit about the plot and my thoughts.

Criminal #1

How does a criminal’s son find the money for his dad’s bail? Steal it! Duh. Thus begins our introduction to a couple of the characters in Brubaker and Phillips’s new comic series.

Teeg Lawless is sprung from jail, but his “idiot” kid stole that necklace from a guy who is connected… Now Teeg has to make things right. Down twenty-five grand with no real friends to help, he’s on his own.

Ex-wives, gangsters’ funerals, the hard-drinking members of the criminal underworld take center stage in this one. Teeg’s plans fall through and his desperation only grows.

I love the art style in this one. Dark with that classic noir cigarette smoke drifting through the panels. Teeg’s story doesn’t end in this issue, but will be picked up again in following books.

Bad Weekend (Criminal #2 and #3)

The second and third issues focus on veteran cartoonist Hal Crane and a “Bad Weekend” spent at a comicon. Layered with personal vendettas, a debilitating gambling addiction, and a master talent of drawing, Hal is quite a character. Part of his brain is stuck in his heyday thinking that he can proposition any young woman in cosplay, and the other part of him knows that he must rely on the dirty counterfeiters who make their way across the convention floor looking for marks.

Told from the perspective of one of Hal’s past interns, this is tale of personal vice and desperation. I loved it for its spark of redemption, maybe not for Hal, but for those witnessing his downfall. I’ve never been to a comicon (totally on my bucket list), and this kinda makes me want to check out the scene. This book also convinced me to continue my reading of Criminal. I see Brubaker and Phillips coming up with more characters who will hit that bottom, and maybe come out kicking. We’ll see. #1-3 done.. moving on to 4-however many they write!

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