Readers of The Lost Art

Criminal vol. 1: Coward

May 29th, 2009

Criminal vol. 1: Coward

Criminal vol. 1: Coward

Writer:        Ed Brubaker

Artist:         Sean Phillips

Reviewer:     Louise


Reading a little like “100 Bullets” crossed with “The Usual Suspects”, “Coward” is a gripping film noir-ish suspense thriller following the tale of Leo. Though a criminal and master heist-planner, Leo has strict principles: no guns, thorough planning beforehand, and stick to the plan, hence his nickname of “coward”. Against Leo’s better judgement, however, he becomes involved in a risky heist, during which things go completely wrong. Whilst on the run, Leo must challenge his own principles – whilst staying desperately to stay alive.

“Coward” is worthy addition to the genre of crime comics. It contains all the classic ingredients: a lead character with a criminal record, but a sense of personal morality, bad guys on his tale, a tough femme fatale, and plenty of violence. Crucially, though, Brubaker can really write. The plot, though convoluted, is never so complicated it becomes impossible to follow. The pacing, too, is good, with enough space in between the slam-bang action to allow us to get to know Leo as he grapples with the situation he’s in.

We quickly understand why he is the way he is, even as we increasingly fear for the safety of both himself and the woman he’s on the run with. I did particularly appreciate the fact that Greta, the woman on the run with Leo, is far more than a “love interest”. Though she’s not the main character, she has her own personality and story arc, which is rare in this genre. The artwork, too, is excellent; clear and well-suited to the story. Recommended.


Paperback: 128 pages

Publisher: Titan Books Ltd (24 Aug 2007)

ISBN-10: 1845766105

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