Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colorist: Jacob Phillips
Publisher: Image Comics
How do you review a book that is consistently executed flawlessly. You could talk about the perfectly paced story or the masterful art that draws your eyes into every panel. But anyone that knows me, knows that I am a diehard Brubaker & Phillips fan. I have every book these guys have done together. Since they relaunched this book, it's always at the top of my read pile. The current arc "Cruel Summer" has been one of my favorite CRIMINAL stories so far and this latest issue on furthers my love for this arc.
This issue takes place through the eyes of Ricky Lawless, Teeg's youngest son. It jumps back in time to show Ricky as this chaotic little shithead. He grew up idolizing his father and wants to follow in his footsteps. But he's a Lawless what else would you expect him to be. Brubaker has a way of really fleshing out every character that he writes and no two characters ever feel the same.
As time jumps forward, Ricky starts committing petty crimes with his pal and begins to resent Teeg and Jane, Teeg's new girlfriend. In one issue Ricky has already become one of my favorite characters in thee Brubaker/Philips universe. The narration Brubaker does for Ricky is so realistic that you can almost hear the words being spoken in your head. You really become attached to the characters of this world through the narration. Every time I read this book I completely lose myself in this world, same goes for books like FATALE, THE FADE OUT and KILL OR BE KILLED.
But let's not forget the atmospheric art of Sean Phillips. This book wouldn't be what it is what out his smooth line work and at times haunting visuals. He builds this world that we all love in such a beautiful way that nobody else could do. I mean the way he draws someone smoking even make me want to pick up a cig (I quit 9 months ago), that's how much power his art has.
Adding Jacob Phillips, Sean's son, as the colorist has only taken this book to new heights. Jacob has really left his mark on the title with his muted colors and unique approach to every scene. He makes every panel a visual masterpiece and helps convey emotion though color, which is exactly what a colorist should do.
I seriously can't say this enough, If you're not reading CRIMINAL you need to rectify that shit right now. There is no other book I can recommend enough. No matter what genre of books you prefer, this is a book I can honestly say is for everyone. This is the one book I fanboy about more than anything else. So go buy it, now. Seriously ut down your phone or tablet and go pick up this magnificent book.