With Thief of Thieves #1, which hit stores this past Wednesday, Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) introduces the television “Writer’s Room” concept to his Skybound imprint, as he teams with Nick Spencer (Morning Glories, Iron Man 2.0) for a story about a thief who wants to retire. The heist comic features the artistic talents of Shawn Martinbrough (Black Panther, Luke Cage Noir) with colors by Felix Serrano.
So did Thief of Thieves manage to steal the hearts of reviewers? Here’s a sampling of what some of them thought about the debut issue:
Iann Robinson, CraveOnline: “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.”
Don MacPherson, Eye on Comics: “My biggest beef with this introductory issue is there isn’t a lot of meat on the bone. This read quite quickly. A quick perusal of the issue shows that like Marvel and DC, it seems we’re getting some 20-page issues from Image Comics as well. Not much really happens in this introductory issue, and it’s not as though we get to meet the wider cast of characters. We get cursory introductions to Redmond and Celia, and by the end of the issue, other than the fact they’re master thieves, we really don’t know all that much about them. Redmond comes off as intelligent and brooding, but there’s little emotion, nothing about what’s driven up to this point and nothing about what’s changed for him. Of course, I’m not looking for all of the answers up front, but this debut episode really could have used more of a hook.”
Brandon Borzelli, Geek Goggle Reviews: “Unfortunately, the tagline is not addressed in this book. Sure, the book is setting up the characters and providing a little bit of self-enclosed story but I think it would have helped to hook readers in for the next issue. After all, the book doesn’t really set itself apart from other real-world-like criminal books like The Rinse or Criminal. Let alone compete with books that are crime based with supernatural elements such as Existence or Who Is Jake Ellis? Nick Spencer has an incredible ability to provide an unexpected cliffhanger but this issue doesn’t contain that.”
Jason Clyma, Broken Frontier: “With the majority of Thief of Thieves #1 resting upon the main characters, Kirkman and Spencer found a perfect third partner in artist Shawn Martinbrough. Celia’s transformation from angst-ridden amateur thief to apprentice, for example, is clearly reflected in her facial expressions, which begin with rigid teeth-grinding frowns and end with confident and elegant smiles. Beyond pencil work, moreover, Martinbrough makes full use of a variety of colors, with each scene benefiting from its own color palette. The range of colors, from red interrogation rooms, to orange party scenes, and more, kept each scene from looking stale or recycled.”
Augie De Blieck Jr., Comic Book Resources: “Artist Shawn Martinbrough goes widescreen with this comic, with nearly all of the panels stretching from left to right, usually stacked four high. The few exceptions place an extra panel on a tier to fit in an extra beat in a dialogue-heavy scene. They’re timed well and serve the story.
“But the regularity of the panel shape makes the pacing of the story so much more important. By choosing this limitation, the artist is forced to stage scenes and angles on his art that he might not otherwise use. To Martinbrough’s credit, there’s not a single panel that looks like a stretch. They all look carefully chosen to tell the story and not just to fit a preconceived storytelling gimmick. As a bonus, it brings us different angles on scenes than the boring old mid-range camera show we’d normally expect.”
Erik Norris, IGN: “Thief of Thieves #1 is a satisfying introduction to this series that establishes the main cast with some great characterization and ends strongly with a cliffhanger that’s sure to get me back next month. In addition, the art by Shawn Martinbrough, while not super detailed, complements the story nicely with a slick presentation for this seemingly cool heist story.”