Thief of Thieves
Story - Robert Kirkman
Writer - Nick Spencer
Artist - Shawn Martinborough
Colourist - Felix Serrano
Letterer - Russ Wooton
Cover - Shawn Martinborough & Felix Serrano
Publisher - Image
I was quite a latecomer to this series, having missed out on the first, second and third printings of the first issue, and it wasn't until issue six that my LCS managed to find me a full run to get my teeth in to. Thieves turned out to be one of those comics that had me asking for the next issue as soon as I had finished all those I had, and issue #7 is no exception.
With a plot that could be pulled straight from a Hollywood blockbuster (yes the 'Oceans' series, I a looking at you), it has all the intrigue and twists of a major motion picture, supplemented by the sumptuous artwork of Shawn Martinborough. The plot is fairly simple, a master thief wants out, but has to pull one last big heist to set himself and his crew up for life. Except he pulls off a different kind of set up entirely...
Issue six left us wondering how he had pulled it off; setting up his entire crew in order to free his wayward son from the clutches of the FBI, only for them to appear to be walking free for no reason that we are given. Until now. Redmond is a master of plotting, and has pulled a blinder with his plan as enacted in issue 6. We are given the brilliant details throughout the course of issue 7, but the cliffhanger at the end only leaves me wanting more. At what cost has he rescued his son, given that it seems he will now have to carry out the "last big job" that he was so desperately trying to avoid throughout the preceeding issues? I suppose I'll have to wait and find out. Must... be... patient...
The beauty of Nick Spencers writing comes to the forefront in this title, different in many ways from Morning Glories, the only title I knew him from previously, but with the humanity that he seems to bring to all his characters. Once again he manages to create individuals that are flawed, imperfect, and yet utterly believable. Our master thief Redmond has all the hallmarks of the classic 'bad boy', and yes, I love him for it. He has rescued a slightly broken woman from a potential life of petty crime (admittedly by taking her into the murky underworld of major heists), done his utmost to win back the wife he has lost through his life changes, flirted his way through several encounter with the law, and written a heartfelt note to his son trying to prevent him making the mistakes that have peppered Redmonds own life. The supporting cast of thieves, family and FBI agents only serve to uphold the reputation that Spencer is rapidly gaining in my household for being a master of his craft.
Largely free of splash pages, the pared down style of the comic allows the artwork and colouring to come to the fore, with a dark palette that allows the faces of the characters to act as a focus, and a single full page illustration for the final page, beautifully rendered and encapsulating Redmonds plight - and my reaction to the latest cliffhanger - with a single word.
All the characters - even those introduced in this issue, and those that we technically shouldn't like such as the FBI agent that plagues Redmonds every step - have qualities that draw the reader in, and the emotion drawn on their faces, be it shock, happiness or fear, just add to the joy of this comic.
My verdict? if you haven't read this series yet, do so. Now. seriously, stop reading this and go and pick it up, you won't regret it.