Axel-In-Charge: Extending "Secret Wars," Excitement for a "Totally Awesome Hulk"
Every day this week will see me feature a brand-new Cool Comic Book Moment. For this week only, I’ll be specifically featuring cool moments that happened in the last couple of years (basically since I last did the Year of Cool Comic Moments). Here is an archive of all the past cool comic moments that I’ve featured so far.
Today we take a look at what is, in effect, the driving force of the Thief of Thieves comic book, from the fist issue (written by Nick Spencer and Robert Kirkman with art by Shawn Martinbrough and Felix Serrano)
Thief of Thieves is about one of the world’s greatest thieves, Conrad Paulson, known in the business as “Redmond.” So far, much of what Paulson has been up to has been as a direct result of estranged son, Augustus, who tries to follow in his old man’s footsteps but is so incompetent that he ends up putting his father into awful situations in attempts to help his son out. That’s what the first two arcs have ended up being so far, but that’s not really the driving force of the series, I would say. I think it is instead the simple fact that we have here a guy who has become one of the best thieves in the world but in the process, has lost the only woman he has ever loved and, of course, his aforementioned son. So in the first issue, after we see Redmond in action (in a clever little piece of thieving), he meets the “boss,” the guy who finances their whole expansive thieving operation and thus begins the slow burn, as Redmond has come to a conclusion about what direction he wants his life to head in…
Spencer shines with the dialogue and Martibrough beautifully captures out the measured delivery of Redmond. It is difficult to truly get across the concept of a “beat” in comic books, but Martibrough does just that and he does it very well.
What a powerful opening to the series! It gives you a strong cliffhanger, a great introduction into what makes Redmond tick and none of it is just wasted exposition.
I don’t know if it is intentional or not, but the final page (which would, of course, be the moment here) reminds me a lot of Will Simpson’s conclusion to Dangerous Habits over in Hellblazer. That sense of “I’m calm, cool and collected and I’m still telling you to eff off.” John Constantine pulled it off and I think Redmond does, as well.
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