In the age of Tarantino and Ritchie it’s unsurprising that this series was picked up, by producer/actor Sam Worthington, with such immediacy. With new concepts like this, Radical show that they know what it takes to make comics like the best examples of bold cinema.
The debut issue of this bi-monthly series introduced us to the world of ageing Graham Bricke who, like many others, wants to choke every opportunity they can before the U.S government broadcasts a signal throughout the nation, rendering criminal desires null and void. It’s one of those simple concepts that can be described in a sentence, yet whose potential is limitless. No wonder Hollywood are keen. Writer Rick Remender never gets bogged down by the hug scope of the idea though. There’s hints to actions outside of the happenings involving Bricke and his fellow crims, but it’s the ragtag bunch of ne’er-do-wells who are the charismatic centrepiece. The signal combined with the complete and total transfer of paper money to digital transactions ensure that the window of opportunity for Bricke and co. is becoming narrower and deadlier.
Issue 2 begins, with only 7 days left so Bricke (or Rory as he’s also known) has to move things along quickly with his new partners, safe cracker Kevin and his hacker girlfriend Shelby (who Bricke had a brief …encounter with last issue). The 3 characters are largely separated during the story, which means with only one issue left in this series, the finale is set up to be explode.
There’s no doubt that the world of American Crime is a filthy one. Rick Remender is writing the Punisher after all, so he knows a thing or two about the criminal mind, but whereas his work on that series, and Fear Agent shows a deft ability to welcome the fantastic, here he has a different agenda. From the opening pages in which members of a Mexican gang threaten a rival’s naked partner, it’s blindingly obvious that this isn’t one for the kids. Remender knows his boundaries though. There’s never a point, despite all the profanity and loose morals, that he’s puffing his chest out to show how ‘cool’ he is. He shows restraint and makes sure to give the reader a breather, and that’s something that Mark Millar could do with learning. There is a lot more violence, nudity and drug use in this issue than the debut, but there’s also the sense that Remender is ramping up his grandiose story, with the reason to the signal being given, as well as its implications on society’s freedoms.
This is a well paced tale, with Bricke as the guiding force, but the scenes involving Kevin’s run-in with some local drug dealers, his visit to his unique and wealthy family, and Shelby’s kidnapping, (along with the possibility of backstabbing) means that this is a guaranteed page turner. With a world filled with hardcore characters in the Sin City realm, and the approach of a Hollywood blockbuster, American Crime is an intoxicating, if sometimes shocking, mix.
A large part of the razzle dazzle is due to Greg Tocchini’s sizzling artwork. I’ve never seen an artist who can colour his own pencils with such verve. He has a rough approach, but one that is filled with details lesser artists wouldn’t bother with. By choosing unique angles it really does feel like a movie directed by the next big thing from the world of music videos.
This is another great entry in this series, and for a cheap 64 pager with a production and design gallery included, it’s pretty hard to pass by.