The latest (and penultimate) issue of Criminal offers new insight for this series arc, with Brubaker leaving readers with a surprising cliffhanger. While Brubaker is entrenched with all-things noir, this series consistently demonstrates his mastery of comic book storytelling. He has created a fantastically atmospheric issue while diving deep into character explorations, fueled with fantastic anxiety of the consequences of their actions.
Artist Sean Phillips and colorist Jacob Phillips create a paint style that has an impressionistic aesthetic. The looseness of the art pairs well with the almost expressionistic style of coloring that Jake Phillips layers onto Sean Phillips’ work.
For consistent readers of Criminal, there is an execution of consistent neo-noir aesthetics. The team creates a unique aesthetic that integrates fantastic control of pace. What’s even greater is the stark use of colors. Throughout the issue, characters and backgrounds are kept in a secondary color palette with the primary colors being used for significant narrative beats. In addition, the employment of spacing within certain panels conveys the claustrophobic nature of performing a heist.
Together, the team of Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips, and Jacob Phillips serve as the holy trinity of neo-noir. The entirety of Criminal has been a genuine piece of literature that challenges the likes of Lehane and Mosley. This issue ups the ante for the next and final issue of this series arc.
Creative Team: Ed Brubaker (writer), Sean Phillips (artist), Sean Phillips (colorist)
Publisher: Image Comics
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