Monday, March 22, 2010

Bound Man, Bloody Face

Criminal: The Sinners #5, by Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

This is the last episode of this story, in which Tracy Lawless started off investigating who was bumping off various thugs and low-lifes across the city, only to end up with some terrifying Chinese gangsters convinced that he has just killed their boss. Just to ensure his totally fucked status, his own boss has discovered that Lawless has been stirring his porridge and a military policeman is getting ever closer to hauling him back to Iraq.

I have thought before that maybe the Brubaker-Phillips team are not as good at ending their stories as they are at setting them up. On a first read I found myself thinking this is true of this one. Looking at it again, though, I am a bit more convinced by this. It has the same bleakness of what has gone before, just with a few more of the characters stuffed conveniently into coffins by the end of it.

And that appears to be it for Criminal for the next while. The two creators are doing other stuff for a bit, before they reunite to bring us another run of Incognito (the one where they combined a load of odd pulp stuff mixed in with superheroy stuff and the kind of crime tropes they are more usually fond of). Incognito returning is both good and bad. I found the story straightforwardly more satisfying over its length than any of the Criminal narratives, but it also felt like something that was more definitively finite in its appeal. It did not seem like it would gain from being a more open-ended story, but I have been wrong before.

Criminal Panda

An inuit panda production

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