With the announcement that “Thief of Thieves” has been optioned by AMC for a television series, it’s perfect timing that the third issue of this series by Robert Kirkman, Nick Spencer and Shawn Martinbrough was released this week. Because regardless of if it actually goes to a television series or not, “Thief of Thieves” is a fun enough comic that it deserves the extra attention.
Kirkman and Spencer are still laying out our protagonist Redmond’s life in this initial storyline; in this issue, we learn a little about two of his relationships, most notably with an FBI agent named Elizabeth Cohen. The introduction of Elizabeth is timed perfectly; the initial appearance in the kitchen, the serving of breakfast and the mention of the warrant she has with her so that she could enter Redmond’s home. As Kirkman and Spencer dip back and forth between Elizabeth’s first encounter with Redmond and the present day, you start to get a greater idea of the kind of guy that Redmond is and how he operates, as well as the stress Elizabeth is under as a result. It’s a game of cat and mouse where in some ways it’s the mouse that is keeping the cat at bay, even as the cat is prepared to try a new trick.
What’s nice about “Thief of Thieves” is that as a comic, unlike a television show, the book can temporarily dump all the characters that have been introduced (save Redmond) and veer off in this different direction, showing us the FBI’s problems with Redmond and even leaving Redmond himself out of half of the comic. It’s an effective story that feels like it’s starting to fill in some more of the details on why Redmond’s announcing his retirement, and avoids straying off the path of the main story. Spencer’s dialogue in particular is a joy, from the casual banter between Redmond and Elizabeth, to Elizabeth and her boss Bev. He’s got such a strong ear for how people talk that at times I worry the next storyline’s collaborator with Kirkman won’t be able to measure up.
On the other hand, you don’t have to worry about Martinbrough’s art measuring up to the story being told; it looks as snazzy as ever. What I’m finding myself loving is the natural way his characters move and act on the page. Redmond’s pulling his tie as he talks to reporters, the reflection of Elizabeth in the glass as she glares at her prey, or the way she leans on the reception glass with such confidence as she talks to Doris. Martinbrough’s characters have always looked good, but they feel especially real in “Thief of Thieves,” and that’s no small feat.
“Thief of Thieves” continues to impress three issues in, inviting in its relaxed nature. I’m sure other people would be delighted to hear that it’s been picked up as a full television series, but so long as the comic book is around and feels this good, that’s all that matters to me. If you aren’t reading “Thief of Thieves,” this is a good a time as any to fix that problem.