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Crossing the Line (Criminal #9 Review)

Updated: Jan 25, 2020


Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Colorist: Jacob Phillips

Publisher: Image

Rating: 10/10

Ahhh, all is right with the world. At least it is for a brief moment in time while reading a new issue of

CRIMINAL. While some may find that odd, considering the usual content in any given issue, I mean it in the sense of getting lost in a great story. Brubaker and Phillips have a way of doing that, like few creators can. The world of CRIMINAL is submerges you into a world both gritty and real. Each character so well thought out that you are instantly invested in their every move. This issue was no different.

Once again we are seeing the world of the "Cruel Summer" through the eyes of another character, Leo. Long time readers of CRIMINAL, will notice exactly who this is. Leo was the original lead character that led us into this entire crime world. Since we haven't seen him as the main focus since issue 5 of the original series it's cool getting back into his head, especially a younger version of him. We get  into his head a little bit and learn what set him on this path of being a thief.

Leo and Ricky have set out to rob an arcade all planned out by Leo. The way Leo carefully plotted out the robbery was impressive for someone his age, but it's clear he was a product of his environment as his father is a criminal also. From a young age Leo was taught how to steal from his father and his "uncle" Ivan. Taught that those imaginary lines and rules didn't apply to people like them. It was interesting getting more backstory on one of the main players in CRIMINAL.

Of course not everything goes off without a hitch, especially when you have Ricky Lawless around. When the take isn't as large as they expected, Ricky suggests they steal one of the arcade machines. After a run in with a security guard where Leo ends up pulling a gun on the guard, he and Ricky go there separate ways. It's in this scene we see Leo head on the path where he eventually ends up in Vol. 1 of CRIMINAL.

The book as always is written to perfection by Brubaker. He has a way of getting you into each characters head that you find yourself feeling what those characters feel. I'll can't say this enough, he writes some of my favorite characters in comics. Each page plotted out perfectly with some of the best inner dialogue in the history of the medium.

Sean Phillips though is absolutely killing it with each issue. The way he gets every minute detail and look in every scene and character is what makes the book what it is. You know how there is a Master Chef? well, Sean is a Master Artist. I don't even think my words can do his work justice. His art is only elevated by the exquisite color work of his son Jacob Phillips who has helped take this book to new artistic heights.

If you guys have been enjoying this arc as much as I have, then get ready. From what Brubaker has said, things are coming to a head in the next issue and if I know anything about Brubaker expect the unexpected.


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