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Criminal, Vol. 4: Bad Night

(Criminal #4)

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4.24  ·  Rating details ·  2,419 ratings  ·  124 reviews
A woman in trouble, friends on the run from cops and mobsters, and a secret no one is prepared to face! Five years ago, Jake was a happy family man, long-retired from the life of crime he grew up in, and then the police made him the prime suspect in a horrible crime and ripped his life apart! Now, years later, Jake is less than a shadow of his former self, a hopeless insom ...more
Paperback, 120 pages
Published February 11th 2009 by Marvel (first published January 1st 2009)
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4.24  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,419 ratings  ·  124 reviews


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Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Mar 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, 2017

Episode four in the "Criminal" series continues the tradition of self-contained story-arcs, focused on one character at a time, yet somehow interconnected into the larger picture of the dark underbelly of Center City. Jacob Kurtz had a brief cameo in one of the earlier issues as a counterfeiter. We meet him now as a nighthawk : an timorous insomniac plagued by a terrible past that left him first tortured by a local cop, then beaten to a pulp by the kingpin's henchmen after his wife disappeared i
...more
David Schaafsma
Jun 30, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gn-crime, brubaker
"The last refuge to the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world"--Leonard Cohen

In my rereading of this reprinted series, this is my favorite one so far, fabulous crime comics for noir and comics fans. Jacob Kurtz (cf. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness), a former counterfeiter, and insomniac, is a cartoonist whose strip, "Frank Kafka, Private Eye," (cf. Franz Kafka) appears in the daily paper, something various criminals read in this series. His wife died in a tragic car accident sever
...more
Richard
Not too long ago, I wrote a review of Brubaker and Phillips's The Dead and the Dying , gushing that it was my favorite volume in the Criminal series that I've read. Well I'll be damned, here I am saying it again! This volume is not only the best Criminal story so far and one of the best graphic novels I've read to date, but it takes this series to a whole new level, delivering a story of noir so ink-black and classic in it's development that Goodis, Brewer, Cain, Keene, and Thompson would all b ...more
James DeSantis
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Now this one...this one might be my favorite in the series so far.

Jacob is a cartoonist who's been through shit. I mean, wow. But first you start with him just eating at a restaurant one night and BAM this woman gets into a fight with her boyfriend and the owner of the diner knocks the punk out. The girl runs and by chance Jacob finds her on the side of the road and takes her home. From here on, the story just makes so many twist and turns it's hard not to love it.

I really don't want to go int
...more
Brandon
Aug 04, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, 2015, noir, comix, icon
Jake spends his days in a waking coma. He walks the streets at night, produces a syndicated comic strip during the day, and grabs sleep when he can. It’s not a bad life considering he was once accused of murdering his wife, a charge he managed to avoid due to a lack of evidence. But Jake isn’t entirely innocent. While he never did kill his wife, he did at one point run a counterfeit ring in his youth, but those days are long behind him. Or so he thought..

After witnessing a young couple fighting
...more
Kemper
Feb 19, 2011 rated it really liked it
I had a hard time reading this one because it’s so steamy that my glasses kept fogging over.

Jake is the introverted artist/writer of a comic strip starring a Dick Tracy-kind of character. Since he has problems sleeping, he prowls around the city at night. Sitting in his favorite diner, Jake witnesses an altercation between a beautiful woman named Iris and her boyfriend. When the dust settles, Jake tries to take the drunk Iris home, but ends up having a night of crazy sex with her instead. Anyon
...more
Chad
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Best volume of the series yet. Brubaker and Phillips really knock it out of the park with this twisty-turvy and just plain twisted gut-punch of a story.

Jacob, the counterfeiter from book 2, is back and stars in this tale of deception, kidnapping, murder and lies. Jacob now lives a quiet life drawing a Dick Tracy type comic strip. One night he helps a girl with a douche of a boyfriend out, giving her a ride home. His life descends into hell from there, a hell he can't quite manage to escape.
Cheese
Jun 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This really surprised me
And knocked me for 6!

Wow, I really wasn't expecting this story. It was like watching fight club for the first, complete head fuck and then wham!!

Unforgettable.

I just wish I had read it years ago.
Sam Quixote
Jul 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
A crippled cartoonist helps out an attractive red-head after she has a drunken fight with her boyfriend one night. Would that be the end of it? Not if this is an Ed Brubaker book! The cartoonist winds up in a complex plan involving kidnapping, extortion, murder, betrayal, and madness. "Bad Night" is a twisting story about twisted people double-crossing one another to get what they think they want.

Brubaker's writing is as taut as ever and the plot whirls quickly throughout the book. The strength
...more
Jedi JC Daquis
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved reading Bad Night more than the first three volumes. I did not expect the plot twist in the middle of the story, considering that the first three are too predictble.

The story is considerable less connected with the world built by the volumes one to three, limited only to character mentions and cameos. You just know that it is part of the Criminal world. Brubaker made it more noir by including am imagimary character, and Sean Phillips did a fine job with drawing him Darwyn Cooke style in
...more
Stewart Tame
Mar 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Look, why are you even reading the review? It's Criminal, for crying out loud! Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips do the best comics noir around. Go read it already.

Jacob’s awake most nights, working on his comics strip, the Dick Tracy-esque Frank Kafka, P.I. Taking a break for a trip to his favorite all-night diner, he stumbles upon what seems to be a lovers’ quarrel. And that's how Iris walks into his life. Before he knows it, he's in over his head, and areas of his past that he thought long dead
...more
Jesse A
Jan 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A very good volume in this series. Like a slightly more grounded version of Sin City.
L. McCoy
Brubaker and Phillips can’t make a bad book, can they?

What’s it about?
This volume follows a troubled cartoonist. One night/early morning he is at a dinner where he sees a male and female couple getting into a crazy fight. The woman is hitchhiking afterwards and the cartoonist ends up picking her up. They seem to get into each other which leads to the cartoonist telling the woman things he shouldn’t in an attempt to impress her. To explain more without spoiling a good book would be difficult so l
...more
Roy
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Jacob the counterfeiter from book 2 is back and gets caught up in a messy night. Twist after twist. This is definitely the best one yet.
Brent
Aug 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of these fine creators and crime fiction, over a certain age
Recommended to Brent by: these fine creators and Goodwill
Shelves: comics, fiction, crime
Writer Brubaker and artist Phillips just rock these noir crime stories. This one combines a femme fatale with a cartoonist on a downward spiral.
Highly recommended.
Mary K
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: comic-books
Certainly well written, however I'm sick of authors using the trite character archetype of the female temptress. Not to give away too much, but Iris (the only female in the book) was undeniably written to be the untrustworthy harlot that uses her sexuality to manipulate and destroy men. Sorry, but no, this is not empowering, and I'm kind of sick of seeing crime noir depend so heavily on such shitty gender dynamics. I don't want to write it off as a genre, but I'm close to it.
Steven
A slam-dunk noir masterpiece!
And then I knew I was sunk . . . That my stupid choices, that my stupid bragging . . . My general stupidity . . . had brought this on. I had done this to myself.
Mark
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics, crime-mystery
Five years ago, Jake was a happy family man, long-retired from the life of crime he grew up in, and then the police made him the prime suspect in a horrible crime and ripped his life apart! Now, years later, Jake is less than a shadow of his former self, working as a cartoonist, a hopeless insomniac who walks the city streets at night. But one night, he walks into the wrong place at the right time, and his whole life changes again... This is an intriguing story, with a couple of nice twists and ...more
C.M. Crockford
Oct 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crimes, novels, genre, comix
Great crime fiction and noir is rooted in this obsession with original sin, predestination: there was no other way this could have gone because of how it all started, because of who you are, what you did. It is the most fatalistic genre, but still tied most distinctly to action, choice. There's agency here but that was warped and twisted long ago. Brubaker and Philips know how to use their stories to walk their characters backwards, to see how a relationship, murder, or situation really started ...more
Morgan
Oct 15, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is probably the most interesting tale for the Criminal series. The main character is a crippled comic strip writer/artist who basically is a guy who just happened to be in a dinner one night at the wrong time.

The thing I liked most about this was the fact Brubaker mixed mental illness with crime fiction. The main character Jacob supposedly has schizophrenia because he thinks his cartoon character is controlling his life some how. It's an interesting concept that comic books don't really foc
...more
Stephanie
Jul 17, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: comics
I wanted to like the Criminal series so badly. The storytelling is well-paced and interesting. The (male) characters are compelling and believable. The writing is precise and careful.

But I just can't get past the endless misogyny. Every female character is sexually objectified, most are completely flat as characters, and none end up wielding any power other than their sexuality. Not only do I find this tiresome and at times outright insulting to read, but it's easy and boring. I wish Brubaker w
...more
Gavin
Oct 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
I enjoyed this, as I have all of the volumes in this series, but for some reason this wasn't as enjoyable for me as the rest...
not sure if I just didn't find Jacob as interesting or what, but it was still very good, the art is superb as usual, especially for this genre. Brubaker really has the Raymond Chandler noir down...he's the king of this type of graphic novel.
Looking forward to the next one...I wonder if I'm so spoiled by how good these are that I've taken for granted how well done they ar
...more
Artemy
Jul 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A great arc that was let down a bit by a kind of confusing ending. I didn't quite get what was revealed at the end about the main character here. And, yes, furthermore, the treatment of Iris as a character was pretty mysogynistic. I know that Brubaker is not a mysogynist, and I know that he has a whole other series deconstructing the femme fatale noir image, and then there is the whole unreliable narrator thing going on, so I won't hold this against the story. But it is a pretty disturbing detai ...more
Sharon
Mar 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic-novel
This series continues its twisted, violent greatness.
Andrew
Aug 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, comics
3.5 stars. A delightfully grimy little noir with some of Sean Philips' best-ever artwork. Things go completely off the rails at the end in ways that are both good (our insomniac protagonist losing his mind in a highly entertaining fashion) and bad (the criminal scheme is overly-complicated and under-explicated; the fate of a major character is completely ignored in the abrupt final pages). The menacing vibe and black humor are there, but the plotting just isn't as disciplined as in other volumes ...more
Joseph
Mar 03, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic-novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sesana
Jan 05, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: comics
This was probably my least favorite of the Criminal books to date. It takes quite some time for the story to ramp up, and I took such an instant dislike to the viewpoint character that it was too long for me. And while the cover character, Iris, is the very image of a classic femme fatale, she was a little lacking in depth for me. All that said, once the story does pick up, it gets very interesting, very fast. And that ending... Wow. It certainly isn't the best thing Brubaker's done, but it ends ...more
Kurt Reichenbaugh
Apr 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: noir, graphic-novel
My personal favorite volume of the CRIMINAL series. Insomnia, obsessions, hallucinations, sex and a very bad girl with a gun. All of the CRIMINAL books are fun and highly recommended. The trade PB's don't have the essays found in the single books.
Paolo Macri
Sep 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was probably my favourite volume in Brubaker's Criminal series, and makes me excited for the next 4 volumes!
Mark
Aug 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: graphic
Another Brubaker winner. The guy just keeps crankin' them out.
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1,793 followers
Ed Brubaker (born November 17, 1966) is an Eisner Award-winning American cartoonist and writer. He was born at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland.

Brubaker is best known for his work as a comic book writer on such titles as Batman, Daredevil, Captain America, Iron Fist, Catwoman, Gotham Central and Uncanny X-Men. In more recent years, he has focused solely on creator-owned titles
...more

Other books in the series

Criminal (7 books)
  • Criminal, Vol. 1: Coward (Criminal, #1)
  • Criminal, Vol. 2: Lawless (Criminal, #2)
  • Criminal, Vol. 3: The Dead and the Dying (Criminal, #3)
  • Criminal, Vol. 5: The Sinners (Criminal, #5)
  • Criminal, Vol. 6: The Last of the Innocent (Criminal, #6)
  • Criminal, Vol. 7: Wrong Time, Wrong Place (Criminal, #7)