Summary: Conrad Paulson lives a secret double-life as master thief Redmond. There is nothing he can’t steal, nothing he can’t have… except for the life he left behind. Now with a grown son he hardly knows, and an ex-wife he never stopped loving, Conrad must try to piece together what’s left of his life, before the FBI finally catch up to him… but it appears they are the least of his worries. Collects Thief of Thieves #1-7.
Thief of Thieves, vol. 1, by Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer, Shawn Martinbrough and Felix Serrano 7.5
‘Thief of Thieves’ is a monthly comic created by Robert Kirkman, of ‘The Walking Dead’ fame. I had enjoyed the first few issues of ‘The Walking Dead’, but soon found that it tailspinned into melodrama, with one contrivance following the other. Fresh at first, I soon tired of the formula.
His new creation, which is written by Nick Spencer, is not nearly as original as the former, but it holds up a little better. While it is slightly more twisty than I would have liked, it sets up its characters extremely well, providing us concurrently with enough background and foreground to introduce us properly.
The lead character is Redmond, a master thief who is considered the best in the world. The FBI is breathing down his neck, but he has built enough of a buffer around him to give him plausible deniability. He also has a stellar partner and surrounds himself with the best, so he can be guaranteed to do his work unfettered.
Unfortunately, it’s his personal life that’s causing him grief. His relationship with his ex, and former partner in crime, is poisonous: she has begged him to quit the game and now can’t stand his presence – yet he still loves her. Meanwhile, their son has decided to walk into his father’s footsteps, but without any inherited wisdom and skill.
Desperate, Redmond may just have to put everything on the line to pick up the pieces of his crumbling life.
The writing was fairly solid. In some ways, the book reminded me of ‘Human Target‘, but not as outlandish and not nearly as much fun. It felt like it took itself seriously enough to be level-headed, but not serious enough to keep from crossing a few lines along the way, making it this short of believable. It still reads well, however.
The art, while not entirely stellar, has a pleasant, clean style to it that works for the genre – it’s slick, vibrant and pops just enough. The inking probably helps, even though I’m not a huge fan of it: it’s jet black, with thick lines framing much of the art. The storytelling is totally on the mark, but it’s simplistic, focusing mostly on wide panels and little else.
‘Thief o Thieves’ has been slated for development by AMC, the same company that has put together the TV version of ‘The Walking Dead’. It may make for a decent show, and this is a fine comic by any standard, but it would have to delve deeper into the characters’ emotional core and avoid pelting twists at us to totally reel me in.; I want substance, not artifice.
There are plenty of crime books filled with non-stop action and twists, a different approach would be welcome here.