Updated: Jan 25, 2020
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips
Colorist: Jacob Phillips
After reading each issue of CRIMINAL, or any Brubaker & Phillips book, I'm always left with the same feeling, why does it only come out once a month. But then I realize that's why they're so great. They could probably pump out more books or do corporate owned characters, but that would just diminish the what is already perfect. They put everything into each issue they do and you're always left satisfied and yearning for more.
This latest arc has been one of the best arcs in the entire series. CRUEL SUMMER has been a long form story where we jump from each characters POV each issue, which has made it feel like little vignettes that can be read on their own. But when you read them all together you get to see how they overlap and all the little nuances and details that Brubaker and Phillips so cleverly weave in and out of each story.
With issue 8 we are shown the world through "Sweet" Jane's perspective. She has become my favorite character of this arc so far. Her motives haven't always been evident and you don't really know what her endgame is, but that's what makes her such an interesting character. The heist that Teeg and her are doing seems to be going a little to smoothly which causes her to question it. Of course this is such a natural reaction, who wouldn't question something going to easy when they're are so many ways for them to get fucked up.
As she leaves the meeting with this sense of impending doom, we are given insight into the history of this complicated woman through Brubaker's signature dialogue. In just a few short pages, I found myself falling more in love with this character and hope she's around for more than this arc. Not to mention Phillips' design of her. In a world where some artists over accentuate women's features and oversexualize them, Phillips draws women in a way that makes them sexier and appealing in ways that other artist can't. From the way she smokes a cigarette or stairs at herself in the mirror while talking about her unique outlook about life, Phillips art conveys both beauty and confidence.
After coming to the realization that the one "unknown" in her plans is Teeg's son Ricky, she sets off to find him. Since he's nowhere to be found she seeks him out, eventually coming to the realization that he's just like his father. When she finally finds him, Brubaker eludes to the fact that Jane and Ricky share something in common from their childhoods. After sharing a moment, our two characters are left in a precarious situation. As is the usual for all of the people that inhabit the world of CRIMINAL.
As I've said before, this is a book I think everyone should be reading. Everything Brubaker and Phillips put out is pure gold. Always top notch and probably the best character and crime stories you'll ever read. They're like a fine wine, they only get better with age.