The Last Days of American Crime #3 Review

The finale in Radical’s latest bi-monthly offering has many things going for it. Sam Worthington’s attachment to the film version, writer Rick Remender’s (The Punisher, Fear Agent) high concept tale and Greg Tocchini’s eye melting art. Every issue of this series should come with a complimentary combination eye wash and brain soap. It’s dirty, but very entertaining.¬†As with all good tales, it’s the central story idea that is the fundamental building block to a rollicking good time. Remender has not only a great concept, but the skills to build upon it.

The American Peace Initiative is a signal that will be broadcast America-wide, rendering all knowing criminal thoughts (and thus, activities) non-existent. Of course, it’s not necessarily a popular decision, with many leaving the Staes for Canada and Mexico, but for some opportunists they see the chance of a lifetime. Middle-aged Graham Bricke is one such man, and the focus of Last Days. The first two issues saw him form his team, consisting of lovers Kevin Cash and Shelby Dupree, as well as battle it out with Bricke’s former partner, Enrique.

This finale opens with a bloodied Graham and Shelby on their knees facing Enrique’s angry goons while their leader screams about his dead daughter. In case you’ve forgotten what kind of comic this is, the initial pages will “gently” remind you. With Bricke’s narration adding tension like a piano wire, it gets off to a good start and thankfully only gets better.

We learn about Bricke’s criminal past, his “flirtation” with an honest life and the motivation for this last job. With less seemingly random acts of violence Remender brings a laser-like focus in these 56 pages, and like any good heist film, makes the job one worth waiting for. Of course, there’s double-crossing, murder and the sense that you never really know what the outcome will be until the final page is turned, and when the broadcast goes out during the final few minutes of the job, it makes things even more interesting, and heightens my desire to see a faithful film adaptation. There is perhaps a tad too much exposition in the conclusion, but not enough that it ever gets distracting, and it doesn’t take away from the suspense and mystery from the entire series.

As much as Remender’s bloody fingerprints are all over this book, so are those of Tocchini. This is a series whose visual approach is as daring as its story. Tocchini’s pages could almost be the work of a team of artists, with inking, colouring and page layouts being a work of perfect tandem. He somehow manages to give scenes of flying fingers and bullet wounds an air of light-filled delicacy, maintaining an effective balance between dazzling beauty and bludgeoning brutality.

Radical prove again that they know what comics are capable of and are waiting for the other guys to catch up.

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