Good crime fiction should be scary. It should leave you thinking about how messed up the world is and more so how dark the creative team is. Where did this dark, violent story come from and why is it so damn good. There are really only a few comic creators attempting to keep the crime genre alive in comics today, it goes through resurgences but almost always tappers off again. It’s one of my guilty pleasures in comics as I enjoy seeing what dark and demented world has been created. All Crime Comics is pretty dark, but has an ending that is almost uncharacteristic of the genre. The issue stars a character by the name of Dodger which is a great name for a crime guy. He and his Russian associate Marko are working over some goons looking for answers which ultimately lead him to Kansas. He’s planning a job and is meeting some trustworthy friends there to discuss killing Louie Derose. The story cuts over to Louie who’s in prison and waiting for Dodger to break him out, but instead Dodger is going to break in and murder him.
The story flashes back to Dodger and Louie’s past. They two men actually met in high school; Dodger was the out-of-place tough guy and Louie was the small guy everyone tried to pick on. On one such occasion Dodger came to Louie’s rescue and the two bonded from there. Soon enough they were selling drugs to all the cool kids while standing outside their party. In high school they both began pining over the same girl who in a way has led to Dodger’s betrayal.
The beginning of the story starts off kind of rough. It’s not until the meeting where Louie’s death is discussed does everything become clear. The flashback was great though and even though it takes up the bulk of the story it made the third act worth reading. Even though Dodger has done a lot of bad shit you get the feeling that he’s done it so that he can be a part of the woman he loves’ life. It’s that twisted sense of logic that makes crime fiction so great and this issue captures that. The narration is the driving force behind this book and because of that the dialog can be off-putting at times. Since we’re dealing with Dodger so much in the narration when you pop out of it everyone tends to blur together with their dialog. It’s not very noticeable, but it could hinder the experience in future issues if not flushed out more. Everyone should be very dynamic in comparison to Dodger so that they’re memorable and interesting, otherwise why are they there.
There are actually two artists on the book; Ed Laroche illustrates the first and third chapters and gives the book a modern crime look. He has a great style that while familiar, I just couldn’t put my finger on it. It reminded me of some 12 Gauge Comics I’ve read and also Black Diamond. Very good style and was the perfect fit for those chapters. The middle chapter is drawn by Marc Sandroni who I became familiar with on Dames in the Atomic Age. His style is a bit different in this book which shows just how much range he has as an artist. He captures the era of the story and draws some amazing looking classic muscle cars. What was even better about this section of the story was the intentional old-fashion coloring style. It looks like a comic printed from the era it takes place in and that helped set the atmosphere for the story. Both artists did a fantastic job and their storytelling was captivating.
I really liked this book and the ending. I almost find it bizarre that the main character is returning in the second issue, but I’m willing to check it out. If you like crime comics and haven’t gotten your fill from the departure of Criminal, then check this book out. It’s a fast paced read, but hits all the right beats for the genre.
Writer: Art of Fiction Artists: Ed Lacoche and Marc Sandroni Pubisher: Art of Fiction Price: $3.95 Release Date: March 2012 Website: ArtofFiction.com