I dropped Thief of Thieves after one issue because I felt like Kirkman expected us to care a lot more about these characters than we did. After one issue, who cares if people are double crossing each other?
I grabbed this trade to see if things have improved. To the surprise of no one, they really have. Kirkman knows how to spin a good yarn, and Thief of Thieves has really taken shape into a good one. I barely knew who the players were when I opened this book, but I found myself rooting for most of the conflicting players by the end of this.
It is interesting that Kirkman is joined by James Asmus, a writer I’m starting to notice. How is the work split exactly? This pairing seems very effective, both in the amped up plot and in the rich characterization throughout the book.
Conrad Paulson is the star of the book. He’s a professional thief respected by his peers and the police alike. He plans jobs carefully, sets things up perfectly, and never gets caught. Unfortunately, he has a bozo son who keeps messing up. Augustus Paulson is a decent thief, but man, he gets himself into one spot of trouble after another, and he needs his dad to bail him out.
It’s a classic noir set up; the master criminal who is untouchable with no weak spots except for his family. And the family is always full of them.
I thought this read like a TV show in the first issue, and it still does. But by reading the issues in trade format, the pacing doesn’t bother me at all. I found myself anxiously turning the page to get to the next issue. This is definitely a book that benefits from the trade format.
Shawn Martinbrough doesn’t get the credit he deserves. His super-hero work has been fine, but I was never a super fan. But the acting in this comic is superb. With no costumes or other shortcuts, Martinbrough has to sell everything though well drawn facial work and “acting.” He knocks it out of the park; there is never a moment where the direction of the art is unclear.
This is a GOOD crime comic. It is no Sleeper or Criminal, but it would be a great crime show on network TV.