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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Cruel Summer (Crime)

by Ed Brubaker  (Author), Sean Phillips (Artist), Jacob Phillips (Artist)

Publisher ‏: ‎ Image Comics; Illustrated edition (August 18, 2020)

Hardcover, 288 pages

Amazon Listing

For those who were looking forward to some more Criminal action, this story is the answer to their prayers. It travels back in time to the original anti-hero of the series, Teeg Lawson, to demonstrate how he lost everything and became the foul jerk from the original series. This book collects issues 1 and 5-12 of the third volume of Criminal. It is just as brutal, amoral, and heartbreaking as every other arc in this series - Perhaps more so, as long time readers already know each of these characters are already doomed.

Taking place in the summer of 1988, the narrative flips position with each issue, giving every character a chance in the limelight and to add their voice. The technique gives depth to that character’s action in other stories, where they are relegated to a minor appearance. Thus this straight-forward tale is expanded in ways which would be impossible had the story been handled with only a single main character. In this case every character is the protagonist and antagonist simultaneously.

The plot revolves around one of our previous heroes, Teeg Lawless - well named - falling in love and straightening out his life. Not to say he goes straight, but his new love teaches him a better way of life, this making him a much better and more careful thief. However, his new ladylove causes more problems than she solves. The plot is excellent, the art is as well. The only niggling difficulty I have with this book is that the motive of the private investigator seems a little thin, more time should’ve been taken to show him as a mentally disturbed individual. 

  For more readings, try books by Rex Hurst


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