With issue two hitting shelves next week, Radical celebrates with a second printing of the first issue. So, does it live up to all the hype?
Credits & Solicit Info:
The Last Days of American Crime #1
Published by Radical
Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Greg Tocchini
From critically-acclaimed writer, Rick Remender, comes a fast-paced, futuristic crime story.
In the not-too-distant future as a final response to terrorism and crime, the U.S. government plans in secret to broadcast a signal making it impossible for anyone to knowingly commit unlawful acts. To keep this from the public, the government creates a distraction, installing a new currency system using digital charge cards.
Enter: Graham Brick. A career criminal never quite able to hit the big score, Graham intends to steal one of the charging stations, skip the country and live off unlimited funds for the rest of his life. But the media has leaked news of the anti-crime signal one week before it was to go live...and now Graham and his team have just a few days to turn the crime of the century into the last crime in American history.
Under Radical's revolutionary new "BIGGER BOOKS! BIGGER VALUE!" format, each issue of The Last Days of American Crime contains more the 60 pages of story and art for only $4.99.
Long time Outhouse readers know that this past year saw our first ever awards. One of the nominees was a book with only one issue to its credit. The Last Days of American Crime #1 sold out quickly. Heck, Ultimate Comics didn’t even have a copy long enough for me to consider reading. So if you’ve not read it, there is an excuse. With issue two ready to hit the shelves next week, a brand new printing is on shelves this week and I decided it was high time I dig into its pages.
Rick Remender has made a name for himself over the past few years. If not always loved, he has big ideas. Franken-Castle is the kind of insane seventies concept that excites me. Of course, your mileage may vary very greatly on the enjoyment of that one. For every fan like me, there seem to be ten going “what have you done to my Punisher?” The other book that really stands out for me with the writer is Crawlspace: XXXombies. A book actually set in the seventies where the zombiepocalypse happens and humanities last line of defense are a bunch of porn stars. From The End League to Strange Girl, most of his output has been firmly in the science fiction/fantasy genre. There’s been a little horror here and there for good measure as well.
Crime would seem like a departure then. On the surface, it is. However, when shot gun blasts take away character’s faces the line between gore and noir is blurred. Furthermore, Remender isn’t sleeping on the conceptual greatness here, either. This book is about a 22nd Century Bank heist. The economy is getting ready to go all electric - cash made a dinosaur. On top of that, a new policy - the American Peace Initiative (A.P.I.)- is broadcasting some kind of psychic who-ha that will keep people from knowingly committing illegal acts. As a result, the Canadian and Mexican borders have tightened up as the underworld flees the good ole U.S. of A.
Enter Graham, a bank security guard with a plan to set himself and some partners up for life. It all involves hacking one of the new fangled credit machines as the A.P.I. goes live. He brings on a couple to help him out and you can smell the double cross even before it becomes apparent.
This is Remender’s best piece of writing to date. Often, his ideas take over for solid story telling and this book creates not only a great character in Graham, but there is subtle supporting cast work. A world is built almost effortlessly around the life time criminal and his planned hack heist. But the sci-fi of the story, while firmly in soft Fear Agent territory - more concerned with sounding cool than mechanics - is not the only conceptual revelation at play. He’s also creating a new slang. Turning odd phrases that actual make sense into a new idiom. It is like Burgess but there is no need for a glossary. All the while, he is making a pretty bold statement about the complacency of America in its arrogance.
Even more breath taking is the art of Tocchini. A journeyman of sorts with one of the Marvel 1602 sequels under his belt, his art here is fresh, exciting and original. It feels like the love child of Tommy Lee Edwards and Luc Jacamon. It has a textured painted feel that easily conveys the story, but more importantly becomes gruesome when needed while still pulling off a bright c0lor pallette. It is sort of a reverse noir. Cinematic in scope, the panels seem to almost have intercourse like the book’s protagonist and femme fatale, it is sexy and dangerous. Vibrant and alive.
One issue in and this seems to be in Criminal, The Killer territory. Of course, it will be almost impossible to tell if it is that caliber of mastery until it is completed, but it is well worth checking out and filled with a sketch book and interviews along a more than full length comic, it is well worth the price of entry as well.