Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Criminal: The Sinners #4
Icon (Marvel Comics)
Brubaker & Phillips
Tracy Lawless finds a way to survive in this issue but he just keeps making more and more enemies it seems. The Sinners begins to tighten up the plot of initial murders that started the series off but by the end of this issue the story gets pulled into an entirely different direction as the body count mounts.
Tracy was supposed to investigate murders that were infringing on his boss’s power. However, his investigation has been derailed as his past catches up with him. The army has come looking for him to drag him back into service. He narrowly escapes but creates a gun fight in the process and ends up getting shot. Tracy is fairly helpless because of his wounds and calls in the woman he’s having an affair with, his boss’s wife. This is a problem because Tracy is being watched by people that also work for his boss. Tracy is in a lot of trouble on multiple fronts.
If that isn’t enough for Tracy one his leads in the murders is targeted by the real killer. This issue ends with Tracy getting caught in the crossfire of his lead and the real killer. He does find an unlikely ally in this issue, but can this person really be trusted?
The issue is fantastic as Brubaker shows again that he has mastered the art of noir storytelling. The characters are all villains. The plot is irrelevant as the story gets jerked in multiple directions in this single issue. Even those supporting characters that the main characters rely on seem to have their own agendas and give the impression that they could pull a weapon on their “friends” at any moment.
The comic book is rounded out by a fantastic essay by Joe Hill (of Locke and Key) about an old Charles Bronson movie, Majestyk. This movie helped launch the book career of Elmore Leonard as he tried to fix the movie script by turning it into a novel. The essay weaves a real life story around the movie and provides interesting insight into the viewing experience.
Phillips again takes the comic book into dark places. There are a lot of newer characters in this comic book and they all look evil and sinister. The art just seems to be getting darker and darker as the series moves towards its conclusion. The artwork has manages to bring a face to the meaning of the word noir.
This chapter of Criminal saw Tracy Lawless gets pushed to the brink of death. So much so that I can’t believe he’s going to survive this series. In true noir fashion though, should it even surprise me if he ends up dead? We’ll see how this all ends up next issue. This is one of the best issues Brubaker has ever put together.
5 out of 5 Geek Goggles