When you mention the name Robert Kirkman man a great many things comes to mind. With the success of the Walking Dead on TV and knowing that the long standing comic is fast approaching its 100th issue, it's clear he's reaching a much wider audience these days. Kirkman is also known for titles such as Invincible (also approaching a landmark issue) and the more recent Super Dinosaur. By using these three titles, it demonstrates his ingenuity and vast wealth of ideas and stories that are almost falling out of his head due to the sheer amount of them.
Thief Of Thieves is yet another example of the creativity and flexibility that we have all come to know. The story has been developed by Kirkman but the comic is written by Nick Spencer (and there are rumours that there are up to four writers in total on this project - an idea Kirkman admits is inspired by his recent experiences in a TV show's writers room). It’s an interesting setup to say the least, providing for a story with a lot of potential, both in the comic and also in the way it could develop. This is one comic that I can immediately see the screen potential and would be attracted to watching it on TV in a similar way to Peter Milligan’s Human Target has evolved over the years and spawned two small screen series of Christopher Chance’s antics.
The story revolves around an enigmatic character simply known as Redmond and his “assistant” Celia. Redmond is a thief, one of the best in fact, though the comic begins with what appears to be a failed heist. In true typical Hollywood fashion is not what it seems either. The cinematic likeness then continues with the chance meeting of Redmond and his apprentice and the subsequent relationship that forms.
After moving from establishing the backstory Kirkman and Spencer move quickly into forming the future with an elusive job in Venice complete with huge financial backing, shady partners and an even shadier looking team culminating in a cliffhanger that is almost contradictory. It’s engaging and does make you want to see more as everyone loves a good clever heist.
There is one thing that I did wonder about though. The tagline for the comic is “There is nothing he can’t steal, nothing he can’t have... except for the life he left behind.” There is nothing in this first comic that goes near it, but when you look online there's plenty more story to be found, both in previews for subsequent issues and interviews with the creators. It feels like there’ll be loads of development but you would think it would at least be hinted at more in the first issue.
Shawn Martinbrough is the artist behind the issue. It has a certain sense of realism behind it. There aren’t any over the top characters and there aren’t superheroes or powers commanding the artists focus either. It means that simple and almost pure artwork is presented. This is more of a foreground comic though as the backgrounds are more often than not devoid of detail and a wash of colour, but this generally adds to the tone of the story at that point. It’s something I often pick up on but in this case I have to admit I didn’t notice it as I was enjoying the story.
As a first issue I have to admit it didn’t completely live up to my expectations and maybe the previews have over hyped it a little but you can’t avoid the fact that this has “win” written all over it even from these beginnings.
Kudos to Matt Puddy managed to get through this whole article with out any comparisons to BBC's Hustle. Which is made by a production company called Kudos. Fnar fnar!