Let’s get one thing out of the way right off the bat. Thief Of Thieves #1 is not a Robert Kirkman book. Yes, the celebrated creator of Walking Dead has his name first on the cover, but it’s just his idea. The actual writing went to Nick Spencer whose most recent turn out was the exceptional Spider Island: Cloak & Dagger mini-series. I’m not trying to bust balls here; I just want our intrepid readers to know they’re not getting a Robert Kirkman book. That being said, don’t turn your back on Thief Of Thieves, you might regret it.
If the sometimes stale and repetitive superhero genre has you down, then Thief Of Thieves could be right up your alley. The story is a simple one. Take a master thief named Redmond, a charming loner who is the hero to so many in the underworld. Open the comic with him masterminding a brilliant heist. Add in a beautiful assistant who wants him and creates enough sexual tension to make our hero uncomfortable. Then sprinkle in an upcoming job being bankrolled by a criminal mob type. The whole thing is behind schedule, off budget and people are getting antsy. So what does Redmond do? On the very last page he announces he’s quitting forever.
What will the fallout be? Why is he quitting? Will this turn into apprentice against master? These are the questions Spencer lays out to tempt us into the first story arc. Thief Of Thieves isn’t the most original story idea ever and Redmond certainly is an amalgamation of past characters. This issue rises above its foundation simply by being an entertaining slice of fiction. Spencer isn’t trying to reinvent the wheel or break comic boundaries; he’s just giving us a good time.
Are there problems with the first issue? Undoubtedly. To set up the story, we’re given bits and pieces of it through a current storyline and flashbacks. The switches between the two aren’t exactly seamless, coming across a bit jarring and sometimes confusing. The dialog is a little too “of the genre” and feels really pat. What Spencer does well is pacing and character development. By the end of the issue, you’re interested in these people and curious as to what happens next. If Spencer can punch up the dialog and the next few issues hand us some curveballs, Thief Of Thieves could become an exciting property. Kirkman, though only the idea man, is the master of curveballs so I have hopes for this series.
The artwork from Shawn Martinbrough (currently penciling the ill-fated Black Panther) is solid enough. I won’t lie, I don’t love his style but he tells the story well enough. The main issue I have is how Martinbrough draws faces. Sometimes they’re fine but usually they carry goofy looking expressions or, at the very least, the same expression over and over. For Thief Of Thieves to reach its excitement potential, Martinbrough is going to have to work on panel placement and jazzing up the layout of the book. As an inaugural issue, Thief Of Thieves works well enough to give it the benefit of the doubt. Let’s hope Kirkman and his crew work out the kinks soon.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 6/10 (3 Story, 3 Art)