EDITOR's NOTE: The Last Days of American Crime #2 will be in stores Wednesday, April 28th.
The first issue of The Last Days of American Crime was released back in December of 2009. Here we are at the end of April and the second issue is finally making its bow. To be honest, the gap in between issues has had something of a negative impact on my reading of the second. In what is essentially a high speed, high stakes, ticking clock heist thriller, a loss of momentum could potentially prove fatal.
For those of you joining us late, The Last Days of American Crime involves criminals planning to rob a huge cache of paper money in the final days before the U.S. government converts to digital currency and activates a signal that will curb all criminal behavior in the population. In this issue, ďRoryĒ (his real name is Graham Bricke) runs afoul of some gangsters he crossed last issue leading to the kidnapping of Shelby, a promiscuous hacker whoís playing other angles in this drama with her boyfriend/safecracker Kevin.
This issue pushes ahead some elements of the heist with about 3 days to go before the government activates their thought control device. But itís mostly about catching up with the enigmatic Kevin, who takes a bloody trip down memory lane, and Shelby who finally proves capable of being fazed. Remender sets up a palpable tension between the triangle of Rory/Graham, Shelby, and Kevin. We know Kevin and Shelby will probably try to screw Graham, and we know that Shelby is something of a wild card with her own agenda. What this issue does is throw a complication into her loyalty that may prove problematic during the endgame. Itís a clever move on the part of Remender in true crime fiction tradition of shifting alliances.
The only real drawback to the whole thing is the gap in between issues--it did threaten to derail the story a bit given how much effort it took for me to remember all of the players and their motivations in this read-through. It doesnít turn out to be fatal but Iíd advise one read the first issue again immediately before reading this one.
As for Greg Tocchiniís art, I like the style quite a bit I just find the coloring a bit problematic. The use of washed-out colors occasionally makes characters seem indistinct from panel to panel, and the impressionistic line work would have better been served by more frequent differentiation within the palette. But in spite of these flaws, Tocchini creates impressively sexy women and burly, tough guys. It serves Remenderís script.
I see from the solicitation in the back of the book that the final issue wonít arrive until July. Itís unfortunate that thereís another such large gap in between issues. Iíll be looking forward to it but Iím certain itíll require another read through of the first two issues just to know whatís going on.
If you liked this review, be sure to check out more of the authorís work at our sister site Manga Life.
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