In the tradition of Ocean’s Eleven and The Thomas Crown Affair, Robert Kirkman and crew’s Thief Of Thieves Vol 1: I Quit provides a heist caper full of twists and surprises.

Conrad Paulson lives a secret double life as master thief Redmond. There is nothing he can’t steal, nothing he can’t have… except for the life he left behind. Now with a grown son he hardly knows, and an ex-wife he never stopped loving, Conrad must try to piece together what’s left of his life, before the FBI finally catch up to him… but it appears they are the least of his worries.

  • Collects THIEF OF THIEVES #1-7
  • Story by: Robert Kirkman & Nick Spencer
  • Art By: Shawn Martinbrough & Felix Serrano
  • Price: $14.99 USD
  • Image Comics, September 05, 2012
  • Paperback: 152 pages, 6.5 x 0.5 x 10 inches
  • ISBN-13: 978-1607065920
  • Order online: Amazon, Book Depository

If you’re a fan of the suave and well executed criminal caper than look no further: Thief Of Thieves Vol 1: I Quit. It’s a well established formula for good reason: the gifted leader assembles a crack team of specialists to perform heists for the bankroller/fence. Kirkman and Spencer turn that upside down by starting with our anti-hero Redmond quitting the business, only to be pulled back in because of family. What ensues is a well crafted out of sequence story that provides origins and background material as need without slowing the story down. Fun and full of twists without getting bogged down in semantics or violence.

It’s worth mentioning that Robert Kirkman is listed as creator and story with Nick Spencer as writer. That’s an unusual breakdown: did Kirkman outline this on a cocktail napkin and Spencer ran with it? No question having Kirkman’s name on a book at this point equals vastly increased sales, at least for the first issue. For this genre you expect snappy dialogue, quick plot pivots and an elaborate story: delivered on all levels, including the smug, in-the-know cop who is always one step behind.

This is my first exposure to Shawn Martinbrough art. It has a Brian Stelfreeze look to the thick lines and angles but comes across softer with the character designs: Cully Hamner meets Sean Phillips. Great facial expressions and clean movements. Unfortunately we have pages where images stay static while the dialogue changes: this works in movies but doesn’t translate to the illustrated page, no matter who attempts it. Felix Serrano gives the art a wonderful feel with his range of colours, without going overboard with lighting and effects.

As with most Image collections we’re not privy to any extras: a straight collection of seven individual issues for a bargain price of fifteen bucks. Thief Of Thieves is an ongoing series so it will be interesting to see how the series can keep the momentum of the first storyline without returning to the same source; Ocean’s Twelve and Thirteen we hope not.