Kingbeast's Lair

Growling about the RPG industry and my gaming life. RPG and anime reviews from a passionate fan. (Formerly John's Hero HQ.)

Review Of Criminal And Fatale

October 09, 2015 By: John Taber Category: Fun Reads, Media Interests

Criminal Front Cover

-== Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 ==-

Author: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips and Val Staples Layout: 7.5″ x 11″, 432 pages, hardcover, with a color cover and interior.
Publisher: Marvel
Year Published: 2011

-== What is it? ==-

Criminal is an Eisner and Harvey Award winning crime fiction series from minds of writer Ed Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips. Criminal is part of the Marvel ICON line of products. The Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 hardcover collects Criminal Volume 1 issues 1 to 10 and Volume 2 issues 1 to 3. It also has some extras that include covers and sketches. I am reviewing a copy that I bought from my local comic store.

-== What I Like ==-

Wanting to try something new I decided to look into crime graphic novels. After doing some research I quickly discovered that Criminal and Ed Brubaker were at the top of many people’s lists. When I started researching Criminal most people seemed to recommend The Deluxe Edition books. Thus I gave Volume 1 a try. It did not take long for me to discover a new passion. Criminal is crime fiction writing at its very best. Stories ebb and flow but always seem to have a direction. The main characters in each story are broken shells who in the end get smothered by their sins.

The artwork in Criminal is full of shadow and angst. Sean Phillips pen and ink work is particularly good. The coloring is thoughtful and invokes the mood of the piece.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

Over the course of Volume 1 main characters from one story may appear in a different story. In these cases although the concept is nice these chance encounters sometimes seem forced and can actually distract from my immersion.

Criminal is definitely adult material. Sensitive readers will not appreciate the strong sex, violence, and language.

-== Summary ==-

Since reading Criminal I have read many other crime fiction graphic novels. Watch for some of these in future reviews. After reading many other recommended products I come back to Criminal. Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 is the best hard boiled crime fiction graphic novel I have read. Masterful storytelling at the highest level. Pay off your local comic dealer for Criminal then never look back.

I give it 10 out of 10 paws.

On Amazon you can get copies of Criminal: The Deluxe Edition Volume 1 at this URL for $75. I think $75 might be above the cover price so check your local comic dealer first.

Fatale Front Cover

-== Fatale: Book 1: Death Chases Me ==-

Author: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Sean Phillips Layout: 7″ x 10″, 144 pages, softcover, with a color cover and interior.
Publisher: Image Comics
Year Published: 2012

-== What is it? ==-

Fatale tells the story of a cursed protagonist and the people that enter and leave her life over time. The stories remind me of Midas myth in many ways. Stories are mysterious, terrifying, and grounded in a strong noir base. I read copies of all four Fatale trades that I purchased from my friendly local comic book store.

-== What I Like ==-

Fatale has a very different feel from Criminal. The stories have a Lovecraft sensibility that really sucks in the reader. As the stories take place over several generations of time, and not always in chronological order, I found it sometimes hard to follow the main character’s timeline.

The art and color by Phillips are a perfect fit for the hard boiled content. As long as Sean and Ed stick together they will have me entranced.

-== What I Don’t Like ==-

Fatale did not immerse me in its world like Criminal. The stories are good and fun to read but I guess I did not care enough about the side character to get hooked.

Like Criminal, Fatale is a book for adults. If you don’t want the language, drugs, violence, or sex then don’t partake of Fatale.

-== Summary ==-

Fatale is a great read but takes attention to read. It can also get slow at times. Fatale is more proof that Brubaker and Phillips own this type of fiction.

I give it 7 out of 10 paws.

Get the Fatale trades here for roughly $11 each.

Leave a Reply