Ed Brubaker Criminal Vol. 4: Bad Night

ISBN 13: 9780785132288

Criminal Vol. 4: Bad Night

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9780785132288: Criminal Vol. 4: Bad Night
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After becoming the prime suspect in a horrible crime, Jacob Kurtz finds himself roaming the city streets at night to escape his insomnia and walks into a possible answer to the mystery that plagues him.

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In their superhero-cum-spy comic Sleeper, Brubaker and Phillips played down the powers-and-costumes elements. With Criminal, they’ve escaped superheroes altogether, if only to adhere slavishly—but rewardingly—to another genre, hard-boiled noir. In this arc, insomniac cartoonist Jacob Kurtz’s nocturnal excursions lead him to a fateful encounter in a seedy diner with an alluring redhead and her psychotically violent boyfriend, who ensnare him in an ill-advised heist. Jacob is damaged goods; he never recovered, physically or psychologically, from being framed by the police for murdering his wife and beaten by her mobbed-up relatives. The noose around him tightens; his obsession with the redhead grows; and in true noir fashion, he becomes increasingly desperate and unhinged (he receives visitations from his strip’s Dick Tracy–ish protagonist, Frank Kafka, PI). This all leads to an appropriately twisted denouement. Brubaker brings to Criminal the same intricate plotting and gritty dialogue that distinguished his earlier comics, and emphasizing mood and character plays to Phillips’ considerable strengths. The shadowy, dangerous world of Criminal is hauntingly convincing. Criminal’s among the best mainstream comics produced today. --Gordon Flagg

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