Robert Kirkman

Thief of Thieves #2

ToT2

Thief of Thieves #2; Image Comics; Skybound

One of the things that I must say about this title is that the two covers we’ve seen so far are really cool.  This is issue #2 of Thief of Thieves.  Of course, the logo is quite nice – the hand reaching out as if to pluck fine art from a wall is fun as heck.  But I like how the covers are not cluttered (Cp. Justice League #7) and yet have a good amount of intrigue built in to them.  It’s just enough to make it seem really interesting even if you are a person who only reads comics about superheroes wearing capes.  I like the jewelry and money floating around this cover. I like the dude in the mask with the other dude holding a gun.  I think it definitely makes a reader see this on the shelf and want to find out what’s beyond the cover.

The story is co-written by Robert Kirkman and Nick Spencer.  The artist is Shawn Martinbrough with colors by Felix Serrano.  I think the artwork is the thing to really praise in this issue, much like the last issue.  Yes, it does look like this comic was made to be turned into a film project.  The artwork is bold and heavy, with plenty of space – no cluttering.  Some of the frames are a little empty – I feel they are a little too close to the border of unfinished.  Most of the time, however, this clear and free artwork causes the focus to really land heavily on the individual main characters.  Martinbrough draws faces up-close, bright, and expressive.  In some places, I feel there are two or three frames to show a scene, when really one or two would do.  But I guess that’s the “cinema-feel” that the creators are aiming for.

For example, the last three pages of the issue could have been trimmed down to a page and a half, really.  I mean, it’s a very obvious and stereotypical plot device and probably doesn’t need that much paging to show it.  Even if the artwork is super pretty.

This issue’s story is built around the history between Conrad and his (ex?) wife Audrey.  The story bounces smoothly between the present time and the past.   In the scenes depicting the past, we get to see some action scenes involving the thieving that we’ve all been hearing about.  Even so, the majority of the issue is dramatic tension.  There is not an overabundance of dialogue, so the reader really has to try to get in the scene, guided by the artist.  Overall, I think the story has potential, but maybe it needs a little more weight.  The artwork is excellent, though, and I’ll be back for issue #3.

In any case, drama is cool, showing us the background of characters is excellent, but there needs to be a little more present-day action or something, or this could get boring quickly.

3 stars

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Thief of Thieves #1

Thief of Thieves 1Awhile ago, on some previews listing (I don’t even remember if it was online or print?), I saw that Image Comics is celebrating their 20 years (1992 – 2012).  Also, Image was pushing their products for this big year. I’m ambivalent toward stuff that Image puts out – although lately, they’ve had some stuff that has pulled me in.  For example, I am really fond of Moriarty. I also have seen things I like in Lil Depressed Boy.  I read one issue of The Last of the Greats, and while it was very different from everything else I read, I was not certain that it was a good read. I ought to try another issue of that. Another series I approve of is Reed Gunther. So, in the past year I feel that Image has really upped their game, so to speak.  One of the previews that I saw for 2012 Image titles was this Thief of Thieves series.

This is being plotted by the famous Robert Kirkman, written by Nick Spencer, and drawn by Shawn Martinborough.  I know that a lot of reader appeal is due to the name-recognition of Kirkman on any title. However, what drew me in was actually the cover and the solicitation:

Conrad Paulson lives a secret double life as master thief Redmond. There is nothing he can’t steal, nothing he can’t have… except for the life he left behind. Now, with a grown son he hardly knows, and an ex-wife he never stopped loving, Conrad must try to piece together what’s left of his life, before the FBI finally catch up to him… but it appears they are the least of his worries.

I want to first mention the last page of the issue, which is a letter from Robert Kirkman regarding comics and this particular title. The novelty of this series is two-fold. First, it is a non-superhero story. Second, it is a story being almost written for TV via comics. I quote the Kirkman letter:

This book brings to the comics medium the same kind of story you’d get in a movie, novel or a TV show, but we’re utilizing the strengths of what our medium has to offer in order to tell the story.

Of course, my instantaneous response was a mental demand for Kirkman to enunciate just what those “strengths” of the comics medium are. Anyway, I like the positivity I feel from Kirkman and I admit, I am really okay with a comic book that does not involve superheroes.  Now, of course, there have been plenty of comic books that do not involve super-powered aliens wearing capes. However, let’s face it, few of them have been great. Some have been passable. Many have been mopey and drama-ridden. So I am really ready for Kirkman to write a solid book.

Overall, I liked the layout of the story in this issue. I also was rather impressed with the artwork. It’s nice artwork that is different from the usual fare – but not so different that it’s uncomfortable or odd. I liked the shadowing and the framing a lot. The dialogue is a little sparse in places, I understand that that is for effect, but I could have used a little more explanation.  The story needed a little more meat and potatoes to it, but it’s not terrible at all. And the last frame has the hook that definitely will have readers buying issue #2.

I often write that I have high expectations for first issues.  Because of that and because this issue needed a bit more substance, I think I’ll have to give it only three stars.  However, I am more than willing to read on in the series and see what happens. I do feel this title has immense potential.

3 stars