Comic Rewind: Criminal Vol. 1: Coward

Leo comes back for one last job and it works out perfectly…oh wait no it goes horribly wrong in Criminal Vol. 1: Coward.

Leo is a second generation criminal and he has big shoes to fill.  He is the best planner there is.  Every job he does he goes over every little detail to find any flaws in his plan.  The Salt Bay robbery was five years back.  However, that job went wrong and everyone died but Seymour and Leo.

After that Leo retired from doing jobs, but one day Seymour and his partner Jeff approach Leo.  Seymour and Jeff are cops.  He offers Leo one last job.  Leo declines the offer at first, but he has been taking care of his dad’s best friend who has Alzheimer’s.

Leo decides to do the job which is to steal some diamonds off an armored police truck.  Everything is working exactly according to plan, but Leo and his crew get double crossed.  Leo must now come up with a new plan.  A plan on how to get out of this terrible situation with his life intact.

Criminal Vol. 1: Coward is written by Ed Brubaker with art by Sean Phillips and Val Staples.  Image Comics published the volume in 2015.

I love crime noir stories and this comic does not disappoint.  This is the second time I have read this particular volume, but I love it so much I wanted to sure it with everyone.

The story drops you into the middle of this universe.  I could tell right away all these characters have a history with each other and each character has some depth to them.

This volume meets the standard crime noir formula.  A reluctant hero, flawed female love interest and a simple plan which goes awry.  However, even though it follows a standard formula I never knew what would happen next.  Every single twist and turn had me surprised.

Phillips and Staples do an excellent job with the art.  All the art is smooth and adds to the moral lines which are being crossed throughout the comic.  I think this is better than having crisp art for the tone of the comic.

Brubaker and Phillips have done quite a few noir stories and have a really good handle on the genre.  

Each volume of the series is a standalone story, but characters re-occur throughout the series.  It is really cool to see a character or hear a name and know exactly who they are and their life story.

This is one of my favorite comics of all-time.  I have read a lot of crime noir stories, but this series is the best.  It is hard to say which Criminal volume is the best.  However, this is a great start to the series.


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