Crimespree on Comics: THIEF OF THIEVES

Robert Kirkman and Nick Spencer. How to create a successful book, step one: put these two writers together. There is no step two. Kirkman is a household name these days, with “Invincible,” being the head of Image Comics and, of course, all things “Walking Dead.” But add rising star Nick Spencer, who’s making a name for himself with “Morning Glories” and assorted Marvel and DC work, and the result is a book that has to be irresistible.

It is. Redmond is the master thief. He could steal the stripes off a tiger and no one would notice until he’s lounging it up on a beach. The first issue is a jam packed summery of what you need to know. Opening the book is the finale of a job and us getting to see how the man operates. It quickly, but fluidly, segues into getting to know his protégé through a fantastic flashback. Coming back to now they tease the big job, one Redmond has been working on for three years but keeps postponing. Only hinting at the job, you know that is what the story is going to be about, but the last page leaves such a simple, yet brilliant, twist it just demands you come back for the next issue.

The issue as a whole is good. Not great, but good. That twist at the end is the hook. And once it snags you, you aren’t getting away. Kirkman and Spencer spend the whole issue building up this false sense of security, leading you along a story that seems familiar but well done. The moment you reach that last page, you realize how different this story is going to end up being.

Beyond the twist though, is a genuinely smart book, especially the characterization. It’s tough to make interesting, likeable characters in 20 pages but both writers are so talented they do it quite effortlessly. What makes them real is that these thieves aren’t bad people. They have motivation for what they do, and nothing is ever black and white.

Thief of Thieves is a book one will need to come back for. It’ll be difficult to wait and see what out-of-left-field ideas will come with this story, because each issue will keep you addicted.