Publisher: Image Comics (Skybound)
Story By: Andy Diggle
Art By: Shawn Martinbrough, Adriano Lucas
Release Date: 25th March, 2015
After a slow burn of a beginning to the latest arc of Skybound’s Thief of Thieves, the pace picks up significantly here as Andy Diggle gradually starts to move all his pieces into place as the story begins to gain some real traction. Following the events which saw Celia taking up the mantle of ‘Redmond’ at the end of the previous issue, this chapter deals primarily with her trying to organise her first heist under the iconic thief’s mantle, and doing her best to ‘get the gang back together’ to assist her in this endeavour.
The overall structure of this series remains top notch here, with cleanly laid-out scenes giving each character their own moment to shine, very much emphasising the ensemble nature of the book. As always, the real strength of Thief of Thieves is in the characters themselves, and those readers who have been on board with the series from the beginning will have the added bonus of a deeper emotional investment in this motley crew of scoundrels and misfits.
The bold twists and turns are still being kept to a minimum for the most part – with the exception of the final panel – and once again Diggle decides to focus primarily on characterisation here, taking his time to show how each of the main players reacts to this new status quo – particularly focusing on new ‘leading lady’ Celia herself. We also get to see the return of a familiar face who seems poised to make a significant impact for the remainder of this arc.
Shawn Martinbrough’s artwork continues to give the book a clean, slick appearance with his thick lines and expressive characters, and his cinematic layouts give the whole series a polished look which – while not unnecessarily intricate or ambitious – works perfectly to push the story forwards month by month. Adriano Lucas once again enhances things impressively with his colours, particularly in his use of shadow to add a sense of drama or danger to what could be otherwise be run-of-the-mill exchanges.
To be honest, the one truly criminal thing about Thief of Thieves is the fact that I’m still just reading it in comic form, instead of also tuning in every week to watch it on TV. Come on AMC, get your act together! The world deserves to experience the world of Redmond and chums, and sooner rather than later. For the time being though, Thief of Thieves remains episodic storytelling at its finest, complete with a dynamic structure and a truly engaging cast of characters. This latest arc is a solid jumping-on point, but with all the previous trades being available, there’s no reason not to dig into the archives and experience this gripping saga right from the start. It may have its ups and downs along the way, but for a consistently gripping heist drama, there’s really not much else on the shelves these days that can truly hope to compete.