The Last Days Of American Crime #1 Review

Ever since I first heard about this project I’ve been intrigued. Seeing preview pages at Comic-Con this year made the anticipation grow even more, and now that Sam Worthington is attached to produce and star in a film adaptation, hopefully more people will see this. The concept alone is worth the price of admission.

Like a classic noir tale, it begins with a death (presumably) and then a flashback that explains what led up to it. It seems that in 2 weeks the U.S government will launch the American Peace Initiative as a, “necessary step to protect our nation from further acts of domestic terrorism.” What that means is (and this is the enticing hook of the whole story) is that a broadcast will go live across America, effectively rendering any criminal desires obsolete, and so crims nation wide have a fortnight to get all their illegal ways out of their system. Yes, it really is the last days of American crime.

As is the norm in high concept tales like this, TV news handles most of the heavy exposition (rioting across the country, a mass exodus of people to Canada, etc) but it never lets the story get bogged down. Most of that story revolves around hard man and opportunist Graham Bricke (also referred to as “Brick” in Radical’s promo materials however) as he recruits a gang of similarly minded individuals for one last job. There’s glimpses from the noir handbook, such as Graham’s voiceover describing “that broad’s” walk and the taste of her lips, but writer Rick Remender (Punisher, Fear Agent) digs deeper by making Graham a thrice married man who lives with his Mum in a trailer. Graham also works as a security guard at a large bank and wants to use his know-how to strike quickly before paper money makes way for digital transactions.

There’s a lot of profanity here and a smattering of blood, and sex but Remender is putting all these pieces together like a chess master, making us readers wait for him to strike. This first issue (of a three ish bi-monthly series) is mostly set up, like the first 30 minutes of a classic heist film, but the bulk of the groundwork has been laid. I have a feeling next issue will consist of a lot of action, betrayal and a few bad decisions.

Greg Tocchini’s art works splendidly with Remender’s well paced script. After this, he’s sure to go places. With a painterly style that is hard to compare to anyone else (I’ll say it’s like a more detailed Phil Noto, but that’s not quite right), the artist knows when to use detail and when to approach pages with more subtlety. It’s simply a beautiful book, and Tocchini makes even bathrooms and bars look mundane yet somehow magical. See a huge preview here to get a glimpse.

Also included in this 64 page issue is a sketchbook section by Tocchini and an interview with Remender. Radical prove yet again that they know how to mix good looking books with grand concepts in a delicious cocktail.

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