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Thief of Thieves #1

Story by Robert Kirkman
Writing by Nick Spencer
Art by Shawn Martinbrough
Reviewed by Aaron White

It’s not often that a comic book release catches me off-guard. I pride myself on keeping up with the industry news on a daily basis and being fully aware of upcoming projects. So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon an unknown book with the names “Kirkman” and “Spencer” on the cover. If these two giants of the comic book world had truly collaborated on a new title, this was something I had to read – now!

From cover to cover, I read Thief of Thieves #1 with a slight grin on my face. Robert Kirkman (Walking Dead) and Nick Spencer (Morning Glories) are the genius minds behind two of the best non-superhero comics in recent memory. Because of this, I’ll admit, my hopes and expectations for the comic were almost unfairly high. But when you’ve got it, you’ve got it… and Kirkman and Spencer definitely do.

Thief of Thieves is the story of Redmond, a global master thief at the top of his game, but with his own handful of family baggage as well. The issue plays out like a television pilot episode, something Kirkman intended for this comic after enjoying his experience with writers on the small screen adaptation of The Walking Dead. The first issue focuses on Redmond’s interaction with partner Celia, gives readers some back story on how they met, potential romantic involvement, and a glimpse into Redmond’s past. The comic is a bit heavy on the dialogue side but it’s fitting for the mood. This is a heist comic after all, and as such, action must be balanced with planning, twists and turns. There is a decidedly Oceans 11 feel to the way in which Redmond’s first heist plays out and it sets the stage for many more amazing feats to come. Nick Spencer’s writing is as good as ever. He is one of the best in the business at character development and Thief of Thieves does nothing to diminish that.

From an art standpoint. Shawn Martinbrough utilizes a noir style that fits the tone of the comic perfectly. The dark shading, and stubble on Redmond’s face particularly, help to establish a grittiness to the characters. The panels are straightforward mostly top-to-bottom with only a couple of splash pages scattered in. The only complaints that I have are Celia’s design (I find her a bit odd looking with a strangely squarish smile) and the comic’s final page where the main character’s arm appears to be detached from his body. Despite these small imperfections, Martinbrough’s art fits what Kirkman is trying to establish very well and makes him a solid choice for the job.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

By sheer force of recognition, Thief of Thieves should sell well and have long-running potential. The story is a solid one and these men are masters at surprising an audience, so I have little doubt that the comic will get better and better as it goes. Each issue of the first arc will be focusing on a different person in Redmond’s life before throwing them all together for the long haul.

VERDICT

Well worth a look for any fans of Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, noir art and/or heist tales. This is a “real world” story so you won’t find any superheroes or alternate universes, but if solid character development and emotional storytelling are your thing, Thief of Thieves #1 could be the start of something special for you.

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