Tuesday, March 09, 2010

The Sinners Finale in Stores Tomorrow.

Along with the retailer sites I check from week to week, Ed Brubaker confirms that Criminal: The Sinners #5 is in comic shops this week -- tomorrow for most retailers.

I haven't been able to find any online previews of the story's finale, but I'll update this entry if that changes.

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5 Comments:

Blogger Christopher Bussmann said...

Well, now that THE SINNERS has ended I can definitely say that I feel like CRIMINAL has gone off the rails somehow. This story was weak compared to the other arcs. It really read as if Bru's attention wasn't focused, the story sprawled and the resolutions were just too pat and forced for me to care. That's right, I care about Tracy Lawless a lot less after THE SINNERS than I did before. That's just not good.

And I just can't get excited about having to wait at least a year to get the next arc. That's just too long. I wish the series could just run alongside Incognito somehow, maybe with a series of stand-alone issues or something. Anything to keep me from losing interest in Bru's wonderful, seedy world.

I will check out the next round of Incognito but it will really need to blow me away. As for Criminal, the next arc is crucial. I can accept a lower standard of storytelling with just about every other comic I've ever read but Criminal has been so exceptional, so personal that THE SINNERS disappointing, after such a long wait, has me skeptical over how much Bru has left in the tank given his other projects.

3:36 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

I'm still gathering my thoughts together from reading the issue yesterday over lunch -- and I'll probably review all the Tracy and Teeg stories this weekend -- but I actually had the opposite reaction.

To be sure, I thought The Sinners was a very slow burn, especially compared to the other story arcs, where the protagonist was clearly over his head and in all sorts of danger usually by the end of the first chapter. The mystery of who was killing the crooks wasn't personal for Tracy, and it didn't help that, with the very first issue, the readers were shown the "how" of how they were killed if not the "why."

Things continued to build, especially with the two real cliffhanger endings in issues #3 and #4, but I wasn't really sure I was going to be satisfied with the story until the last issue came out.

Fortunately, I really liked the ending: it was the brutal, tragic ending that the series requires, but it was a completely surprising ending that still made use of all the "pieces on the board."

I thought it was a helluva sendoff for the series while we look ahead to another lengthy hiatus.

But...

If I didn't have a strong positive reaction to the last issue justifying everything that led up to it -- or if a rereading causes me to revise my reaction down -- I would be (or will be) very close to being in the same boat as you, Christopher.

It does feel like a lot of momentum is gone, to go from 14 issues in two years (2007-08), to 5 issues in the next two years (2009-10), primarily because of Incognito, a series I like but don't love -- something I'd gladly read monthly alongside Criminal, but not as an alternative to it.

I think we can both agree that it was risky, to say the least, to make this story, the only full-size Criminal story in a two-year span, depend so much on the payoff of this last issue.

For me, it worked; I'm still firmly on board. But I'll certainly comment if that changes, and I do certainly appreciate your comment AND understand your frustration.

7:31 PM  
Blogger Christopher Bussmann said...

Rereading the entire SINNERS arc tonight, I realize that it was indeed stronger than I first thought. I still think the finale was a bit too pat though.

That said, I am looking forward to more, even if it is a criminally long wait...

11:34 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Finally reread "The Sinners" in one sitting this week, and I think it does improve with a second look.

On the negative side, there are a couple parallels to "Lawless" where the original holds up better. Both have Tracy as both hunter and prey, and both have him involved with a woman who's obviously trouble: but those things came about more organically in "Lawless," where Hyde's men were hunting Tracy for robbing a couple thugs in Center City, and where he fell for Ricky's girl while infiltrating his old crew. Why did it take nearly a year for the CID agent to show up? And though I understood Tracy's falling for Elaine, it was basically backstory and not part of what unfolded in the story itself.

On the other hand, the plot hangs together quite well, and it's good to see some revealing characterization, not only of Tracy, but of Gnarly as well.

The story makes clear that Tracy is -- to an extreme degree, even to a fault -- a man intent on keeping his word and paying back his brother's debts; he is very over-protective of women, probably because his father Teeg clearly abused his mom); and he has no qualms about killing ONLY if he thinks the man "had it coming."

(The fact, established early on, that Tracy doesn't have a problem killing those who have gambling debts is VERY significant, considering the debt that drove the plot in Teeg's story, "A Wolf Among Wolves.")

At the end, the narrator relays how Tracy saw his brother in Evan, the kid who saved his life and ended up losing his because of it.

The truth is, Evan was an awful lot like Tracy: protective of his sister and ultimately getting himself in deep trouble (fatally) protecting Tracy, when he determined that Tracy didn't deserve to die.

That Ricky and Evan -- and, to one degree or another, Teeg and Tracy -- were all "pulled under the endless tide" of crime and lawlessness is what makes the stories of the Lawless family so compelling, and I hope this isn't the last we see of Tracy.

And that closing metaphor, which would have been trite had it been used earlier, really drives home the symbolism of the series' central hangout: The Undertow.

11:40 AM  
Blogger Guglie said...

Neither Val in his Deviant art page posted any preview of it. He was tempted but at the end he said the spoiler risk was high so he prefered to post a page of 4th...5thy should be really dynamite

5:46 AM  

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