Thursday, April 18, 2013


CRIMINAL: THE DELUXE EDITION VOL. 2 (Icon/ Marvel, 2012; Hardcover)

Collects Criminal (Vol. 2) Nos. 4-7, Criminal: The Sinners Nos. 1-5, Criminal: The Last of the Innocent Nos. 1-4, and the Criminal story from Noir: A Collection of Crime Comics Original Graphic Novel (cover dates July, 2008- September, 2011)

Writer: Ed Brubaker

Artist: Sean Phillips

Colorists: Val Staples with Dave Stewart

Believe the hype. Everything that you've heard about Criminal is true. These are crime comics for the 21st century...even though they take place in the 20th century. Technology has made crime boring, so stories that take place in the '70s and '80s are far more interesting than stories that take place today. Nowadays, everyone would have a cellphone video up on Facebook or Youtube and they'd get caught. 

This beautiful, 420+ page oversized hardcover collects three arcs. The best thing about this series is that, despite all of the lurid happenings, it is all about the characters. The choices people make in life define all of these stories. It would be an easy sell to go the cheap, sensationalist route. Brubaker takes a lowbrow concept and makes it high art. 

All of these stories deal with crime, drugs, sex, cigarettes, and profanity. All ages reading it is not. If white knuckled, wrong side of the tracks, bad girls who are good girls on the inside (maybe), and crooked cops sound interesting to you, then Criminal is for you. Even if those things don't appeal to you, Criminal is for you. This is essential reading.
Junk Food For Thought rating: 5 out of 5.

The OCD zone- Well this sure is strange. There are some word balloons that omit dialogue, or portions of the dialogue. If this were a collection of vintage material then I would chalk it up to a pasted over word balloon falling off. Here in the modern age, everything is digital. How would this happen? A corrupted file? This stuff isn't scanned from floppies or anything. It's like an Easter Island head style mystery. The affected word balloons can be found on Page 127, panel 5; Page 128, panels 5-7; Page 131, panel 9; Page 233, panels 3, 4, 7, and 9. There is also one other word balloon without any text in it, although it is possible that that one is not a mistake since it fits in with the story.

The covers are all collected in the back of the book instead of being used as chapter markers. There are chapter marker pages. My OCD prefers the covers to be included prior to the beginning of each issue. Your mileage, as always, may vary.

Paper rating: 5 out of 5. This book has a nice, thick coated stock that is perfectly suited to a high-end deluxe edition hardcover like this.

Binding rating: 5 out of 5. Marvel knows what's up when it comes to binding. This book lays perfectly flat from the first page to the last.

Hardback cover coating rating: 4 out of 5. This book has no dustjacket. The image is printed directly on the hardback itself. The coating can be scuffed. It's not fragile or flimsy, but I would prefer Avatar Press type thickness.


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