After the big heist came to a conclusion in the previous issue, one of the questions that readers couldn’t help but ask was, “Now what?” The first 19 issues of “Thief of Thieves” were all leading up to that moment, so it was a reasonable thought. With “Thief of Thieves” #20, Andy Diggle and Shawn Martinbrough push ahead and remind readers that just because you got what you were looking for, doesn’t meant that you get a happy ending.
The method in which Redmond gets out of jail is probably the least interesting part of the comic. That’s in part because it’s the most realistic (I hope no one was expecting Redmond to dig his way out), but also because it’s a method that he’s gone to before. In many ways, it’s little more than setup for what’s to come. Redmond in jail lets us know the status quo between him and the people he stole from, as well as having removed him from the rest of the world so things could continue ticking forward.
No, the best part of “Thief of Thieves” #20’s story is what happens next. Diggle and Martinbrough create a fun and fast-paced escape scene, followed by Diggle’s reuniting with an old friend. And of course, nothing there goes quite as planned. If nothing else, it’s a reminder that while Redmond is great when it comes to stealing things, he is lousy when it comes to interpersonal relationships. As in, really lousy, and unable to see what’s right in front of him on all sorts of levels.
Regular artist Martinbrough is as good as ever. I love the way he draws people, and the scenes with the motorcycle skidding through Rome’s streets make those pages work well. What nails it for me this month, though, is how well the progression from one panel to the next works. I don’t know if Martinbrough ever worked in television or film storyboards before, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he has. He has a real eye for focusing in on the action when people interact, as well as understanding how to move the virtual “camera” around to provide good angles and to also create a sense of movement even when it’s just people standing in a prison cell. Escape scene aside, “Thief of Thieves” #20 has a lot of people talking to one another, and it wouldn’t work half as well without Martinbrough finding a way to bring visual pep to those moments.
It’s nice to see “Thief of Thieves” back, doubly so with the promise that the production delays are now behind them. And with the end of this issue, I feel like the route is wide open now to do whatever they want. Whatever that is, I’m looking forward to the next chapter in order to find out.