Updated: Jan 24
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colorist: Jacob Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics
Brubaker and Phillips have long been one of the premier creative teams in comics. Every book they work on has been essential reading. They have taken the noir genre and have completely made it their own. Since they relaunched CRIMINAL this year, every issue has been exceptional. This latest issue sees the beginning of the multi issue arc "THE SUMMER OF '88", which chronicles the last days of Teeg Lawless. With so many CRIMINAL stories being 1 to 2 issues, it's an awesome change to see them do a multiple issue arc. Plus, what CRIMINAL fan doesn't love them some Teeg Lawless.
The book starts off with P.I. Dan Farraday in a bar seemingly hitting on the beautiful woman sitting next to him. Btu of course not everything is as it seems. The woman happens to be the person he was hired to find. Like most of Brubaker's characters, Farraday is a flawed man and in this case a little self loathing, yet charming at the same time. Brubaker has mastered inner dialogue and expertly dives into the psyche of his characters, to the point where you feel an intimate connection with them. Not to mention the way Phillips masterfully creates these characters visually. You can see the weariness in his characters eyes, and he draws some of the most beautiful women in comics. This bar scene in the opening pages is a perfect example of these two creators at the top of their game.
From their we learn the reason Farraday was set on this course to locate Marina. He was hired by some rich guy, Wyndham, who Marina was the mistress of. While Farraday hated dealing with guys of that nature, he reluctantly took the job. We learn that Farraday isn't just some honest P.I., he has demons of his own. While searching for Marina, he slowly becomes enamored with her to the point that he's starting to fall for her. HIs investigation leads to him uncovering a lot about Marina's past and he realizes that maybe she ran away from Wyndham for a reason.
As we return to the bar, Marina and Farraday are talking about why she ran. It's here that we find out more about Farraday's dark past in Vietnam. These scenes were both gruesome and enthralling. Sean Phillips and his son Jacob have created a visual masterpiece with every page. Jacob's coloring is so seemless with Sean's art, that it's truly a feast for the eyes.
The ending is where we finally see that Marina has been hanging with the infamous Teeg Lawless. After getting knocked out by Lawless, Farraday wakes up and seeks out Marina and Teeg. Where this goes next is anyone's guess, but you can bet it's gonna be an interesting ride.
Since it's return, CRIMINAL has been my favorite non-superhero series by a mile. Brubaker and Phillips consistently prove why they are one of the best creative teams in comics. Adding Jacob on colors has only made them an unstoppable juggernaut. With this first part, of the longest CRIMINAL story yet, they have delivered on of the best stories in the history of the series. I can't wait to see what they have in store for us next.