X Reviews … Thief of Thieves #1

Since every comic is someone’s first, the books have to be able to stand on their own. X Reviews one new issue each week based on their own merit (and yes, “review” can mean spoilers!) A good story is a good story, no matter how long or short the run. This is where we draw the line for…

Thief of Thieves #1

written by Nick Spencer
art by Shawn Martinbrough
colors by Felix Serrano
letters by Russ Wooten
published by Image Comics

One of the newest titles from the folks over at Skybound Entertainment is call Thief of Thieves. If you can’t gather from the title, this book is about taxadermy. No, of course not. It is about robery, larceny and all around “you got it, and I am damn sure going to take it from you” type felonies. Before getting into the actual story itself, I wanted to touch on something I never do. I mean like eat a hot dog with ketchup never.

In the back of the book, where they put solicites, sell toys and God knows what else since I never read the letters page, Robert Kirkman (CEO of Skybound, COO of Image and all around big muckity muck) talks about how the industry lopsidedly focuses on capes and tights. I enjoy this genre, but Kirkman and myself both believe a more balanced approach would help portray comics as a medium for grown ups in mainstream society. “Have you read War and Peace? Not yet, I was finishing The Walking Dead: Volume 2 Deluxe Hard Cover. Farfetched, but you get the idea.

Kirkman’s point is although Skybound does produce its share of hero books, Invincible to name one, they are committeed to spotlighting other genres as well. I laud this stance 110 percent. This does not exclude the possibility of more superhero titles, it only seeks to demonstrate a committment to good stories regardless of how colorful the protagonists. Kudos to Kirkman! Now on to the mark.

Thief of Thieves #1 sets the stage for what appears to be a wild ride in the international brotherhood of thieves. Conrad Paulsin, or Redmond as he is more commonly known, fails during an attempt to steal a valuable pearl from about a luxury cruiseliner.

The attempt was thwared during the heist and the owner of the jewel was alerted to the plan. Redmond was about to pay a heafty price, until the captain of the vessel objected that the Countess would not be allowed to torture the prisoner. Redmond was turned over to the aristocrat and did not leave the boat with prize in hand. It did however leave the boat. How you ask? Nope. Not this week.

The book also introduces us to Celina, Redmond’s “apprentice,” and how he took pity on the aspiring theif when she was trying to steal his car in a mall parking lot. After his explained the the merits of observation and finese, Remond bought the car he just stole for Celina from her and their futures became synchronized.

Just when we meet Redmond however we learn of some tension between him and his main investor Arno, who has bankrolled a big job that has been in the planning stages for the last three years. Redmond would rather do some more planning, but Arno had other ideas including a big welcome back with the new pearl party. Wait, Redmond did have the pearl? But How? I said not this week!

“This is Viggo, the head of my personal security. He will be hitting you now.”

Writer Nick Spencer took a simple concept and spun it into one amazing tale of deception and the reallocation of property. Crime dramas are really not my cup of tea, unless you have Nathan Fillion on board. God I love Castle. So to compensate, I propose a new genre so I can comfortably enjoy this book without compromise … Property Reallocation Thriller. Okay, so it is a work in progress.

I have to admit the art seemed a bit muted and not anywhere near as sharp as I would like. It was really an obstacle at first, but then the more I thought about it muted art for a book about thieves. It makes metaphorical sense. I re-read the book keeping  in mind about individuals that did not want to be seen. They want to fade into the background and go unnoticed. After realizing this ingenious intent, whether real on artist Shawn Martinbrough’s part, or imagined on mine, it lead me to give Thief of Thieves #1 an A.

For more information on Thief of Thieves #1 go to the Image Comics website at www.imagecomics.com, or at Skybound Entertainment at www.skybound.com and has a cover price of $2.99.

I don’t know who’s place in my pullist this is going, but Thief of Thieves five-fingered someone spot!

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