Page 45 Review by Stephen
THIEF OF THIEVES is comicbook crime that will have you laughing out loud right to its multiple punchlines, not least because your adrenaline will have shot through the roof.
It's a battle of wits.
On the one side is Conrad Paulson AKA Redmond, master manipulator and the world's most accomplished grifter and thief. On the other side is everyone else: tenacious (read: perilously obsessed) F.B.I. Special Agent Cohen, the Mafia, the Cartel and one very nasty man with a customised key ring called Lola. Oh, there are a few other parties with interests heavily vested, for Redmond isn't the only one who can play the long game to perfection.
Redmond's weakness is his estranged wife Audrey whom he still loves, along with his hopelessly flailing son Augustus. Augustus didn't fall far enough from the tree and he fell resentful and rotten to the core. Determined to follow in his father's footsteps, yet with little of his swagger or skill, it is Augustus who creates most of the god-awful mess which Redmond is forced to clean up.
Right at the beginning of THIEF OF THIEVES VOL 1, on the verge of a Venice job into which old Arno had sunk millions of dollars, Redmond quit crime forever. Now his son is being held hostage, naked, in chains and driven around America in the back of furnace-hot truck until Redmond returns with ten million dollars. He has one month to do it. Venice it is, then.
The sparkle of this series lies in the lies and element of surprise which I am not about to spoil for you. Let's just say that this Thief of Thieves is about to thieve from thieves the very articles he once stole himself. He will have Don Parrino to contend with, the very Godfather of the Italian Mafia. He will have Colonel Bianchi and Captain Valenti of the Italian police to contend with. He will naturally have Agent Cohen to contend with because she cannot, she will not let go, even though Redmond has successfully sued to F.B.I. for harassment.
The key seems to lie in the mysterious Sabatini, broker of a specific sort of stolen goods, whom the Italians are onto. Watch out for that flashback!
Created by THE WALKING DEAD's Robert Kirkman, each THIEF OF THIEVES book comes with a self-contained coup, a heist so ridiculously well planned that it will have you grinning from ear to ear once the writer finally delivers the key components craftily kept from you (and even the co-conspirators) until exactly the right moment. The authorial baton has been passed from Nick Spencer to James Asmus and now to Andy Diggle to orchestrate the players and mess with your mind as he did so successfully in SNAPSHOT and UNCANNY.
It is extraordinarily consistent, the mood maintained by permanent artist Shawn Martinbrough whose covers with colourist Felix Serrano form a striking, spot-varnish series of variations on a theme. Within Shawn and Felix are slick, sleek and sexy, whether it's the intense eye-to-eye contacts with so much in minds, or the oh-hell-it's-gone-tits-up action sequences. The suits are sharp and the shadows are just-so plus, as a bonus level-up here, they are given Venice to play with. My favourite city in the world! The piazzas under moonlight echo at night and if you have to run for your life across rooftops anywhere they might as well be those of Venice.
Ah, Tombraider 2! Ah, Assassin's Creed too!
It has quite the skyline.