With no direction home– a review of Criminal 2 #2

Brutal.

Ugly.

Honest.

Real.

It disturbs me to think that one of the words I use to describe Criminal is “real.” Maybe I’m being slightly naive here but how scary is it to think that there are people like Teeg Lawless out there in the world? That there are people who do terrible things during periods where they’re so drunk, high and out of their minds that they have no idea what they do, say or who they cross paths with?

And how scary is it that Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips can this easily create characters like Teeg Lawless?

Teeg Lawless is a Vietnam vet who never acclimated to being home. He moves through his marriage and parenthood without really being a part of them. He can sense the void this causes but is unable to really do anything about it. When a pre-war debt threatens his family, he looks for any score but most only get him a small fraction of what he needs. And when the big score finally presents itself, it may end up being more trouble than it’s worth.

While we’ve met his son Tracy Lawless, Teeg has so far existed in the past, a man Tracy hated and didn’t want to become. Teeg has been a shadow in the past. With this issue, Brubaker and Phillips bring Teeg to the forefront, giving us a portrait of a man who’s had a tremendous influence on a main character of this book even if he hasn’t been seen up until now. It also gives us some insight into Tracy Lawless, the main character of the second Criminal storyline, and shows how he became the man he is and maybe even how he is now following in his father’s footstep. With this issue and the last, Brubaker and Phillips build up the world of Criminal, defining those who have power in this book and those poor, stupid fools who get in their way and become their pawns. These past two stories establish a foundation for the present day stories that the creators want to tell.

Criminal delivers the best combination of story and art available on the stands right now and Criminal #11 continues the near perfect run by Brubaker and Phillips.

Criminal V2 #11
“A Wolf Among Wolves”
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Drawn by: Sean Phillips
Colored by: Val Staples

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