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Review by Ermelinda

The Walking Dead creator, Robert Kirkman has caught the television writing bug and his series Thief of Thieves proves it. Enjoying the efforts and fruits of collaboration with fellow writers, Kirkman decided to apply this method in creating his series Thief of Thieves, for Skybound an imprint of Image Comics. Kirkman assembled the writing talents of Nick Spencer (DC‘s T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents), and James Asmus (Marvel’s X-Men). These two talents are great on their own, but with Kirkman leading the story, arcs and dialogue are gritty, realistic, and at times very funny.

The cohesive fluid that keeps this plethora of talent flowing is the art of Shawn Martinbrough. Full disclosure, as a Native New Yorker, I always have a soft cheering spot for a fellow native. Yet, even if Martinbrough hadn’t been born in the Bronx, I would still go crazy praising this man’s artwork. Shawn Martinbrough has illustrated books for DC, Marvel, Vertigo, and now Image. He works a noir comic with his unique style, using the process of working with light and shadow, to visually enhance and evolve the story as it unfolds.

Without giving too much away, Thief of Thieves is the coarse, rough and tumble, unapologetic story of Conrad Paulson, also known as the master thief, Redmond. As Redmond, he is at the top of his game, executing well planned heists while attempting to stay retired. He dives with wisdom through the web of his past, where the an unfinished heist, the greatest of his career, haunts him. Redmond invites temptation by keeping close company with his sleek and sassy apprentice, Celia, who assists and entices him with every job. They feed off each other and the dialogue is electric.

As Conrad Paulson, Redmond is man whose world has gravitated away from his estranged wife and son that he still loves. Conrad’s son Augustus is a young man attempting quite unsuccessfully, to follow in the footsteps of a father he simultaneously admires and resents.

This is where Robert Kirkman’s voice shines. His ability to release a story with engaging, emotionally pivoting relationships shines through. You feel for Conrad and Augustus, rooting that they find common ground and reach some state of equilibrium.
The tension and strain of the drug cartel Augustus has involved himself in, pulls the suspense and gears their relationship to drop like an elevator descending into hell. A father and son journey, unleashing unyielding tough love, anger, caring, and distrust. Thief of thieves achieves the goal of humanizing Redmond, all while creating curiosity for the mental ability and physical agility it takes to achieve a grand heist while fighting off the law and the drug cartel.

It is an excellent addition to any Noir comic collector’s shelf, and a must read for Kirkman fans. As a side note, AMC and Robert Kirkman have been working on scripts to develop Thief of Thieves into a new series for the network. We shall see what Kirkmania at AMC brings forth.