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Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby ****** » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:15 pm

I could and I might.

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Victorian Squid » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:24 pm

Buck Turgidson wrote:
If you're going to be a tyrant, you've got to learn to crack the whip.


Too bad it's not my week, he'd have already tried to kick me out for not picking.
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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Comic_Doctor » Fri Sep 16, 2011 5:25 pm

I won't be reviewing Criminal this week. I've heard great things about the series, but I've yet to read an issue, plus I have a ton of other reviews to get done :)

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby fieldy snuts » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:28 pm

Was there a clear connection to any of the previous Criminal stories? I remember reading that there was a Hyde cameo in this.

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Punchy » Fri Sep 16, 2011 6:32 pm

fieldy snuts wrote:Was there a clear connection to any of the previous Criminal stories? I remember reading that there was a Hyde cameo in this.


Teeg Lawless was in this issue and I think #1 as well.

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Eli Katz » Fri Sep 16, 2011 10:57 pm

Brubaker and Phillips’ Last of the Innocent has the ignominious distinction of being the Criminal arc with the strongest start and easily the weakest resolution. The basic story centers on Riley, a somewhat psychopathic guy who regrets marrying a vapid, rich bitch and passing over his high-school sweetheart. When he learns of his wife’s affair, he decides to murder her for her money and cover up his crime by making it look as though she were the victim of a serial killer. To provide himself an alibi, he encourages his troubled friend Freakout to fall off the wagon and indulge in a night of heavy drinking. Riley commits the murder after Freakout has passed out.

This issue, the fourth and final one of the arc, provides a few new twists and turns as Riley tries to maintain the appearance of innocence. But none of these twists is very compelling. Riley’s biggest challenge is trying to convince his authoritarian father-in-law that he had nothing to do with the murder. The father-in-law’s suspicions are so profound, however, that the old man hires a thuggish private investigator to uncover dirt on Riley. This PI subplot is weak and, frankly, feels tacked on. At no point does it appear that Riley is in real danger of being found out as the true murderer. Perhaps the problem is that the father’s suspicions are raised at the very end of the third chapter and can only be explored quickly in the final chapter. Bru has simply focused too little attention on this part of the story to give it sufficient weight and importance. He has, it seems, padded the story rather than developed it further.

The plot has another major weakness. At the end of this issue, we learn that Freakout knows that Riley’s behind the killing. How he knows is somewhat convoluted. And the details aren’t particularly important. But he explains that he knew the identities of the real serial killers. Apparently, during a drug binge years ago, he had stumbled past the window of two lovers who planned to kill an inconvenient husband. They knew that if they killed the husband outright that they would attract suspicion unto themselves. Therefore, they decided to conduct a string of unrelated killings to obscure their real motive. I have seen this plot device used one too many times, in various ways, in all kinds of crime stories -- including an early episode of Ironside. It’s an overused plot point, one that Bru should have avoided unless he’d planned to use it in some clever, innovative way.

I could go on and mention other problems I have with the story. But the bottom line is that this final chapter of Criminal is cluttered and rambling and, worse, it lacks all suspense. It’s a boring book, without any emotional impact.

Phillips’ art is excellent, as always. But it is not enough to save this book. I’m deeply disappointed by the way Bru has neglected Criminal over the last few years, putting out rather mediocre arcs in between his Incognito projects. I would say that I’m about ready to quit Criminal. But with the announcement of the 12-issue Fatale series starting in January 2012, it looks as though Bru has already quit this book. Perhaps that is a good thing.

STORY: 4
ART: 8
OVERALL: 6

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby DeadFett » Sun Sep 18, 2011 2:38 am

Story
This current arc of Criminal started out with a bang but fizzled out with a whimper. This last issue felt like a rushed epilogue to the rest of the series. For me, it felt like watching a movie and at trhe end everything is wrapped up with a few paragraphs of text before the credits.I expected more to happen with the private investigator. I thought he would be a much bigger thorn in Riley's side. Instead we get a quick exchange between the two and that's it. I did like the inclusion of Teeg Lawless here to tie in with the other Criminal arcs. The other thing that threw me here was the happy ending Riley receives. He's rich, gets away with murder and has the woman he always wanted. Not quite the ending I expected given how previous arcs have ended. After all, Riley was responsible for three murders here including his wife and best friend. Having said all that, it's still Criminal and it's better than a lot of books out there.

Art
The art here was great as always. Philips is a perfect fit for Criminal. I loved how the flashbacks were drawn in a totally different style that, to me, reflected the innocence of youth.

Story - 5
Art - 9
Overall - 7
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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Punchy » Sun Sep 18, 2011 8:26 am

Next week's book as chosen by Rockman is Batman #1

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Daringd » Sun Sep 18, 2011 1:43 pm

Batman #1..can't wait!
“Who are you talking to right now? Who is it you think you see? Do you know how much I make a year? I mean even if I told you, you wouldn’t believe it. Do you know what would happen if I suddenly decided to stop going into work? A business big enough that it could be listed on the NASDAQ goes belly-up, disappears. It ceases to exist without me. No. You clearly don’t know who you’re talking to. So let me clue you in. I am not in danger Skyler I am the danger. A guy opens his door and gets shot, and you think that of me? No, I am the one who knocks!”
-Walter White

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Stephen Day » Sun Sep 18, 2011 3:51 pm

Punchy wrote:Next week's book as chosen by Rockman is Batman #1

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That's another issue that I borrow from my friend. I'll be reviewing it when I get it from him.
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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Stephen Day » Sun Sep 18, 2011 4:12 pm

I wasn't expecting to see Riley get away with his crime. Not that it's inherently a bad thing to have that sort of ending in crime fiction. Having said that, I personally find that the main character has to be one of two types for that ending to work. The first type is a criminal so likeable that the reader doesn't mind seeing him get away with his crime. The second is a criminal so smart that the reader can't help but sit back, look at his plans and say, "you know, you put things together so well that you probably deserve to get away with it." Riley clearly isn't in the first group. When it comes to the question, "does he fall into the second group?" the problematic answer for me is yes and no.

With that answer lies the reason why The Last of the Innocent fell apart with issue #4. On the surface, Riley's planning and actions should put him in that second group. The thing is the way Brubaker wrote him he doesn't come across as somebody who could come up with those plans, but instead he comes across as a guy more lucky than intelligent. The writing was strong enough over the course of the first three issues that this was largely hidden. Unfortunately, this disconnect between Riley and his actions became all too obvious this issue. The result is a disappointing and unsettling ending that leaves a bit of a bad taste in the mouth.

Sadly, I have to give this a 4 out of 10.
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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Eli Katz » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:08 pm

This is the first time I have been truly disappointed with a Criminal issue. Looks as though all of us are disappointed for various reasons. Interesting. And sad.

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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby guitarsmashley » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:41 pm

Eli Katz wrote:This is the first time I have been truly disappointed with a Criminal issue. Looks as though all of us are disappointed for various reasons. Interesting. And sad.


But you get more Scott Snyder Batman next week....so good thing.
doombug wrote:You really are the george carlin of the outhouse. that's fucking hilarious.


doombug wrote:and yeah, Yoni called it. :drunk



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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Stephen Day » Sun Sep 18, 2011 5:51 pm

Eli Katz wrote:This is the first time I have been truly disappointed with a Criminal issue. Looks as though all of us are disappointed for various reasons. Interesting. And sad.


Agreed, I was shocked at how things just fell apart when it came to my enjoyment of this storyarc with this issue.
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Re: Review Group Week #292 - Criminal: TLOTI #4

Postby Victorian Squid » Sun Sep 18, 2011 6:00 pm

Eli Katz wrote:This is the first time I have been truly disappointed with a Criminal issue. Looks as though all of us are disappointed for various reasons. Interesting. And sad.


I'm trying to read them all but can't find where I stashed #2. Some things in #4 still just don't add up--like how the richest guy in town with, apparently, no connections of his own compared to his gambling loser of a son-in-law, and his P.I. Britt Black along with Teddy's own lawyers can't make anything out of Teddy supposedly being beaten and raped before "confessing" and hanging himself. Or that Teeg Lawless has any motivation whatsoever to arrange such a risky and incredible jail cell hit.
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