Thursday, 19 April 2012

Comic Spot: Thief of Thieves #1 by Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer and Shawn Martinbrough

Thief of Thieves cover (and variant cover) #1Produced: Image                         Story: Robert Kirkman
Written: Nick Spencer                 Art: Shawn Martinbrough

Conrad Paulson lives a secret double life as master thief Redmond. There is nothing he can't steal, nothing he can't have... except for the life he left behind. Now, with a grown son he hardly knows, and an ex-wife he never stopped loving, Conrad must try to piece together what's left of his life, before the FBI finally catch up to him... but it appears they are the least of his worries.

Robert Kirkman is clearly an established man - he's the creator/writer of the Eisner Award-winning The Walking Dead, the creator/executive producer and writer of the hit television show of the same name (the highest-rated basic cable drama of all time in the U.S.), he topped the New York Times bestseller list for graphic novels in 2011 and now he's the man behind a new series about a master thief  questioning his career choice.

Thief of Thieves, issue #1 page imageHowever, what first drew me to Thief of Thieves wasn't Robert Kurkman; it was the slick thieves. I'm a sucker for anything Ocean's Eleven, Italian Job style. There's a magic to the way the roguish characters calmly and confidently steal; they're the rock stars of bad guys. If you were a criminal, you'd definitely want to be a high end thief. Cars, money, jewellery - they have it all... or do they? This is what Thief of Thieves is all about - at what price does the life of a master thief come?

The story is a mix between build-up towards a big job that has been years in the planning, only known as The Venice Job, and visiting the past to explain how the master thief got where he is today. Issue #1 centres around how Redmond met one of his colleagues and apprentice, Celia, and issue #2 is about his early life of crime with his best friend. The constant theme of reflection upon his life is there to neatly tie all the issues together..

Thief of Thieves, issue #1 page imageNow the concept itself is brilliant. I really do like it, but the pace the story progresses is like a tap dripping. Now don't get me wrong; it's dripping top shelf, single malt whiskey, but it's slow. The page layout is a little different to normal - it mostly delivers four long, horizontal panels per page so there's some clear, stunning art but fewer panels in which to tell a story. Artist Shawn Martinbrough does a fantastic job; his art is what really drives the story. There are many pages with very little, or sometimes no dialogue and he does an excellent job of conveying emotion and progressing the story by purely his art alone. Colourist Felix Serrano also does a superb job of bringing Martinbrough's art to life - his use of lighting and tone creates some amazing images that give the comic a real movie feel to it. 

Still, I can't help but feel the series would benefit from both smaller panels and merging panels to get more across each issue. The series boasts some of the nicest art I've ever seen in comics - more often than not comics have great writing but are let down by poor art. Unfortunately, this series leans too far the other way.

Thief of Thieves, issue #2 page imageThe writing is great and true to its genre - the protagonist is a smooth, cool, rascal of a character who steals, sweet-talks and gets knocked about a bit. You can't help but like him. There's a chapter called 'How Celia and Redmond met. Or, how to steal a car,' which not only gives you a look into his past, but a brief insight into grand theft auto. He's a cool guy, tall, nice suits, handsome, charming... a James Bond from the other side of the tracks. But then there's also the present day Redmond - dark, broody and remorseful. There's a depth to the character that will get readers wondering how he went from happy and at the top of his game, to questioning his career entirely.

It's a story I have no doubt will pay off and I have enjoyed reading thus far, but I think if the series were to progress at the same pace, it might work better as a graphic novel rather than an issue-by-issue read. I read both issues back to back, so I needed but individually I'm not sure there's enough there to keep everyone engaged. It'll be a series I save a few issues of before sitting down to read.

To summarise - a great idea and amazing art, but with a slow delivery that could eventually pay off. I would recommend this to people who like thriller and action,  or want a down to earth, no-magic-or-vampires, adult comic story. Issue #1 and #2 have both gone to second printing already and AMC Television Network have just announced Thief of Thieves is going to be adapted into a upcoming TV show already. The sky's the limit for how far this series could go.

What is Comic Spot? Click here.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Grab my Button

Booking in Heels

Booking In Heels Copyright 2008 Fashionholic Designed by Ipiet Templates Supported by Tadpole's Notez