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Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Vol. 1 HC

Ed Brubaker (Author), Sean Phillips (Illustrator) Marvel Comics (Publisher)

> Review by Emil J. Novak Sr.

In the aptly titled Criminal, the smell of dirty money, irreversible lust for power and dames are not in short supply. At 431 pages, this omnibus trade hardcover contains the series’ first three story arcs: “‘Coward,” “Lawless” and “The Dead and the Dying.” Each of these torrid noir stories is contained in a perfectly executed six-issue arc, which frankly is all that is needed for writer Ed Brubaker to deliver his popular brand of storytelling. Each story is loosely connected by the basic fact that it could be any rust belt city on either of America’s coasts. This book is loaded with many attractive features, including an impressive cover gallery and two Criminal “trailers” (illustrated six-page teasers), setting the tone for Criminal, which is published by Marvel Comics’ own Icon Comics imprint. Also included are ten illustrated essays on the world of noir. We are shown the process that artist Sean Phillips goes through to produce the finest noir comics on the market. This thoroughly enjoyable hardcover is right on point with its characteristic style and dark tenor, yet remains far from falling into cliché, something that is hard to do while creating crime fiction.

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