Criminal # 5
Writer: Ed Brubaker; Art: Sean Phillips; Colors: Val Staples;
Criminal finishes with the same good storytelling present in issues 1 through 4. There are a lot of comics out there with many hundreds of issues behind them, and if the characters died, I’m not sure I would care.
With the major Civil War events and Captain America’s death, Marvel is intent on making events matter in characters’ lives. It worked with Gwen Stacy, so why not with anyone else in the universe. But, if the readers don’t feel like they have a stake in the character’s story, generally due to sloppy writing, then it won’t matter if someone is unmasked, turns to the darkside, or is even killed. Until characters matter to the reader they don’t matter at all, not even to the very story they live in.
Brubaker is one of those writers who cares about his craft. Criminal’s characters have little ticks and oddities and manners which turn them from the two-dimensional fictions into four-dimensional people who live in our minds through all five issues. It’s great to experience good writing in any medium. But comics have a dearth of good writers, so I’m happy any time someone like Brubaker gives me a story that matters.