- 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 (12 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #957,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Criminal Vol. 2: Lawless Paperback – December 20, 2007
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
However, I enjoy Brubaker's CRIMINAL comics as much as anything he's written. So far Brubaker and artist Sean Phillips have finished three graphic novels' worth of material. The series won an Eisner Award in 2007 for Best New Series.
Brubaker and Phillips put stories together whenever they can, then run them as mini-series before they're eventually gathered into graphic novels. I love the stories because they're hard hitting noir tales about tough guys, violence, and constant danger. There's not a superhero among them, and very few innocents.
LAWLESS is the second collection, and it's a barbed-wire punch to the throat. Sleek and deadly as a bullet, the story of Tracy Lawless's quest for revenge after his brother ends up dead rockets along to a climatic finish that belongs on the big screen.
Brubaker's narrative, echoed by Phillips's art, is interesting in this arc. Instead of simply breaking the story out from start to finish, Brubaker reveals everything in episodic chunks. He starts with an action, like killing a man on a rooftop and disposing of his body in a Dumpster in the alley, then circles back around to tell readers who the man was and why Tracy killed him.
Looking back through the graphic novel, I noticed how deliberate the reveals were.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
this is noir at its best! the story is gripping and full of twists, and the characters are gritty and lovable.Published on November 6, 2013 by Had To Do It
This story contains elements common to a lot of the Brubaker/Phillips works when you boil them down - damaged people looking for something they see reflections of but don't quite... Read morePublished on October 12, 2013 by Scott McFarland
Ed Brubaker does a fantastic job of gritty street level books. Here, there are so many characters that are different shades of "bad", with no true heroes. Read morePublished on June 5, 2013 by S. Penrose
Name: Criminal Vol. 2: Lawless
Writers: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Sean Phillips (pencils, inks), Val Staples (colors)
Collects: Criminal... Read more
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... Read morePublished on October 28, 2011 by Cliff
All the other reviewers have pretty much covered everything I might have to say about this so all I can add for my two cents is that I agree with the positive reviews on this... Read morePublished on November 11, 2010 by Andre
I usually find it pointless to comment on a ongoing series because future publications can really impact my impression. Read more
This trade paperback collects issues #6 to #10 of Marvel's Criminal series from the same creative team as the outstanding 2003-2005 DC/Wildstorm series Sleeper. Read morePublished on April 6, 2008 by K. W. Schreiter