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Criminal Vol. 2: Lawless Paperback – December 20, 2007

4.6 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
Book 2 of 6 in the Criminal Series

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Marvel; 1st edition (December 20, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0785128166
  • ISBN-13: 978-0785128168
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.2 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #272,500 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ed Brubaker, Sean Phillips and their team of colorists put out graphic art novels that pack a visual punch and include a very well-written story line. Lawless is from a crime family and we find him escaping from a military prison. He is an anti-hero who does things his own way...as much as is possible. What couldn't wait until the end of his prison term is avenging the death of his younger brother. What follows is the typical noir story of confused motives, 'the wrong dame', violence and sexy scenes. In a graphic novel they are all there for the reader to see, giving a real boost to the imagination. Read this through the first time for the rush of the story and then reread it to take time to look at the details in the art--setting, characterization, action and use of color. It's as good as a movie!
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Format: Paperback
Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips' CRIMINAL is the best crime series possibly of all time. It has such a dedication to the pulp-noir roots of artists like authors like Jim Thompson and Paul Auster, and filmmakers like Mike Hodges and Jean-Pierre Melville that these seem like great love notes to the masters of the modern noir. The first arc of CRIMINAL, titled "Coward" is such a pulse-racing and cinematically-styled story that I didn't know if they would be able to top it.

Well, they did.

"Lawless" is such an obvious title for this arc because of its dual meaning: The main character named Tracy Lawless and the seeming amorality of the characters of this world.

The main story is as simple as you can get: A mysterious man seeking vengeance for the death of his younger brother. Sure it seems simple, but as we get more into the back-story of these characters and their lies and truths, which are so brilliantly woven by Brubaker, we see how complicated and brutal their lives are.

As opposed to the 'coward' Leo from the first arc, Tracy is as cold as an arctic whiteout. He is ruthless and calculating, but there is a fire that is burning inside him that he may not be able to contain before the final act draws to a close... a fire that we see glimpses of in his past as a soldier in the current Iraq war. Amd once we do get to the final moments of this story, they're moments that you're not likely to forget anytime soon. The ending is so bleak and brutally honest that it makes most modern noir look like Sunday comic strips.

Phillips' art, as per usual, lends itself perfectly to Brubaker's hard-boiled, no-prisoners storytelling. The art, like Mazzuchelli (whose works include BATMAN: YEAR ONE and DAREDEVIL: BORN AGAIN), is never too cartoony but never too super-realistic. Val Staples, who provides the colors, is also at the top of the game as well.

Crime just doesn't get any easier than this.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Both story and art are deceptively simple, and that's how Brubaker and Phillips get you hooked. Tracy Lawless is a bad dude going after other bad dudes -- the ones that killed his younger brother. Classic revenge story that never gets old. This book (along with Asterios Polyp) restored my faith in comics. I'd stopped reading them for a long time. But Lawless delivers and I'm hooked on Brubaker and Phillips. Bravo!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I first encountered Ed Brubaker's writing on Marvel's "Captain America" series, which is perhaps the greatest run in the character's history, and I have followed him to such titles as "Uncanny X-Men", "Daredevil", and "The Immortal Iron Fist". Despite his excellent superhero work, he began his career and made his name in the more noirish field of crime and espionage fiction (influences which clearly carry over into his best work). Eventually, after becoming a star at Marvel, he opted to reunite with "Sleeper" (Vertigo) co-creator Sean Phillips on this series for Marvel's creator-owned ICON line. This volume collects the second story arc, issues 6 to 10, titled "Lawless" and following the character of the same name, Tracy Lawless.

Of the two collections currently published, I would say that "Lawless" is the superior to "Coward", and anyone looking to try out the series might begin with this; a caution, though, that reading this arc, while mostly self-contained, will reveal some spoilers for the preceding story.

This is a straightforward (in a sense) revenge story, with Tracy Lawless making his way back to his hometown to find out who killed his brother Ricky; more generally, Tracy has not been home for fifteen years, and, in the process of his investigation, he uncovers what happened to his more innocent (in his mind) younger brother in the years Tracy was gone. Fans of the crime genre will recognize a lot of familiar types, but spun in interesting ways, and, just generally, done well (cliches became cliches because they were effective). Tracy is, like most crime story protagonists, not strictly a sympathetic character, but the audience is made to take his side anyway; everyone's the hero of his own story, after all.
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Format: Paperback
Name: Criminal Vol. 2: Lawless
Publisher: ICON/Marvel
Writers: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Sean Phillips (pencils, inks), Val Staples (colors)
Collects: Criminal #6-10
Price: $14.99

More great comic crime fiction work from the same team that brought you the first collection! Building his story in the same world and city that the previous story took place in, Brubaker's new pivotal character returns home from prison to find out who killed his brother. As things click into place, Tracy Lawless doesn't like the answers he digs up.

One thing I really liked about this story was seeing characters (or character references) from the first collection return in this second installment. Much like Frank Miller's Sin City books, the central characters on each story may be different, but they co-habit the same dirty city and cross paths on occasion. The world that Ed Brubaker is building, here, is sure to become a comic classic and will, undoubtedly, continue to pull in more new readers to this series. Now I need to go find the next collection. Brubaker's definitely got me on the hook for this book. Well done and keep `em coming!

Writing: 10/10
Artwork: 6/10
Cool Factor: 9/10
Overall: 8.3/10
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