Advanced Review: Thief of Thieves #1 (Kirkman & Spencer)
The newest crime saga from Image Comics and Robert Kirkman’s Skybound imprint will hit shelves February 8th and is already looking to be an incredibly fun series. The story revolves around Redmond (Conrad Paulson), a professional thief so good at his job he makes it look effortless. With the help of his apprentice, Celia, he can pull any type of job from high-profile to chop shop work. But something in Redmond’s life is bothering him, and he may make a change that will rock the foundations of his business partners.
The writing in this first issue is stellar. Kirkman and Spencer have written a comic that’s full of rich heist movie atmosphere and feels like a brand new Steven Soderbergh film. Redmond is a character who would jack your car one minute and help you pull a job to pay off your mortgage the next. He’s an unpredictable thief, and that’s just the kind of character that makes for great comic book storytelling. The writing approach on this comic is apparently more like a TV writer’s room, where the ideas are fleshed out between more than one writer and the overarching story is decided for the run. It’s a method that will hopefully give other writers a chance to step in and play in the character’s world, alongside Kirkman, without the changing voice turning into a sudden shock on the page.
The artwork by Martinbrough is outstanding. It reminds me of the last run of Detective Comics with Jock and Francesco Francavilla, where most of the panels are dedicated to conversation, but still move the story dynamically and dramatically from page to page. It mixes the lighting elements of film and the “camera angles” that only a strong comic book artist can capture. The entire flow of the book feels so fluid that it’s more like a slideshow than static images. It’s truly a strong presence and ties-in well with the writing. Martinbrough will be on as the main artist, doing both the covers and the interiors, so readers can expect more great issues like this powerful debut.
I'm delighted that crime comics are making their way back into the mainstream. Kirkman has always shown an ability to start projects in varied genres, like zombies or superheroes, and always seems to do something entirely different with them. Here’s hoping that same magic spreads to Thief of Thieves, because it’s already shaping up to be one hell of a ride.