Everybody with an interest in mainstream comics and in the business of the industry are talking about DC’s big announcements this week about a line-wide relaunch for its super-hero books and a much more aggressive and timely digital-distribution plan. Of course, we must also acknowledge that it was a big week for its existing comics. This week saw the release of five, count ’em five, Flashpoint-related comics, and while this doesn’t mark the beginning of the event, it is the first week with a major bombardment of titles bearing the Flashpoint brand.
Criminal: The Last of the Innocent #1
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist/Cover artist: Sean Phillips
Colors: Val Staples
Publisher: Marvel Comics/Icon imprint
Price: $3.50 US
You know those comics Archie published not too long ago in which the longtime publisher and its storytellers showed us what it would be like if Archie and the gang grew up and got married? Well, Ed Brubaker offers his much darker take on the concept here with a cast of characters that were clearly inspired by the close-knit group of teen friends from Riverdale. Archie doesn’t just grow up here, he grows the fuck up. It’s a great concept, but it was also a risky undertaking on the writer’s part. Such an experiment could easily go awry, with the reader seeing the juxtaposition of the harshness of the world of Criminal with the innocence of the Archies as being ludicrous. But he and artist Sean Phillips make it work, and it works incredibly well. While far from the most intense of the Criminal story arcs we’ve seen, this was perhaps the most amusing and the most grounded one we’ve seen thus far.