Sam Quixote's Reviews > Criminal, Vol. 1: Coward

Criminal, Vol. 1 by Ed Brubaker
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's review
Jul 15, 2011

it was amazing

The first book in writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips' noir series "Criminal" gets off to a blistering start with the excellent "Coward". The story of a career criminal who started out as a pickpocket before moving onto heists, this man's trait is of surviving each time he gets confronted with danger and getting away. Is he a coward or just smart? He gets involved in a diamond heist with bent cops and shady past accomplices which inevitably goes awry leading to him going on the run with the stolen loot and his deceased best friend's wife until events cause him to confront who he is and what he has to do.

I thought this was a typical noir tale that would be told at a pedestrian pace with good art but Brubaker does a fantastic job of keeping up the action once it gets going and keeping it there, knocking it up a notch for the final showdown. Having read this creative duo's other effort, the more recent book "Incognito" and finding it somewhat lacking in substance, I was glad to find "Coward" was a lot better. It was more interesting with better characters, especially the lead, and even Phillips' artwork seemed better in this.

If the other books in the series are up to this standard then I can't wait to get started on them, but this is a series that has books that can be read as stand-alones, they aren't connected by an overarching storyline. And if you're looking for a noir thriller that's got plenty of action and pace to it, you can't go wrong with "Coward" for an excellent read.
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