(W) Nick Spencer & Robert Kirkman  (A) Shawn Martinbrough

I believe in comic books. These are the last words written by 'Thief of Thieves' creator, Robert Kirkman, at the back of the book, in a letter to the reader. He talks of how comics should be embedded into people's everyday life, the way that everyone watches movies or T.V., rather than being a hobby of a specific niche. And honestly, Mr. Kirkman, I couldn’t agree more.

Thief of Thieves reads like something you'd see on T.V. I don’t say that as a bad thing, but it's true. In a medium where suspension of disbelief is commonplace, this book takes its cues from more down to earth comics such as: Sin City, Criminal, Love and Rockets, etc; real world characters with real world problems. The idea of using a recognizable setting in an attempt to lure more timid readers is one of Kirkman's main weapons in the war to expose more people to comic books, which in theory, should work. Why can't a well written crime comic be as popular as a not as well written T.V. show? Is it just the perceived 'work' that reading something takes as opposed to letting the T.V. think for you? We are Americans after all…

Nick Spencer, who Kirkman hand picked to actually write the book, delivers a tight, engaging script filled with dark humor and a solid window in the life of a man who can take anything he wants. Plus, Spencer teaches you how to steal a car, which is required knowledge for all aspiring criminals. Ok, so yeah, maybe comics do contribute to delinquency, but whatever, Wertham's dead.

On the art side of things, veteran noir artist, Shawn Martinbrough turns out sufficiently moody, though not highly innovative, pages that work well with the script. Using a slightly standard panel layout stands to reinforce the familiar cinematic feel that first time readers can identify with, as overly complex pages would only serve to confuse and annoy.

All in all this book is another solid #1 from Kirkman's Skybound imprint, though whether or not it will succeed in bringing in non comic readers remains to be seen. Either way, I applaud Kirkman for his tireless efforts in the ongoing battle to bring new faces into the comic book world.


3.5 out of 5 Z'S