Story by Robert Kirkman
Written by James Asmus
Art by Shawn Martinbrough
32 pages, color
Published by Image Comics
Thief of Thieves, for those coming in late, is Robert Kirkman’s new ongoing series that follows master thief Redmond. The series has a series of co-authors attached to it but plotted overall by Kirkman and drawn by Shawn Martinbrough, similar to how a television’s writer’s room works. Thief of Thieves #1-7, the first storyline, was scripted by Nick Spencer and now it’s James Asmus’s turn in the hot seat for the second storyline. And so far? It’s not a bad start.
Thief of Thieves #8 picks up more or less where the last issue left off. Redmond’s son Augustus is now out of jail, but he quickly discovers that just because the authorities are no longer after him because of the duffle bag full of heroin, that doesn’t mean the people for whom he was supposed to sell the heroin are quite as forgiving. It’s a smart follow-up, showing that there’s no easy solution to the problem that Augustus landed himself into. It’s also a bit of a reminder that as good as Redmond is at what he does, there are no shortcuts for just anyone to try and breeze through the system; Redmond is good because he’s skilled and thinks things through from start to finish.
The dialogue isn’t quite as snappy and crisp as under Spencer (who has a real gift for it), but I think Asmus does a nice job here too. The story flows well, and it shifts between Augustus and Redmond with just the right balance between the two. Thief of Thieves #8 never lingers for too long on one or the other, hopping back and forth for a good taste of what they’re up to (and helping serve up more of the contrast between father and son). It’s nice to see that both have distinct plotlines of their own; each zooming off in a slightly different direction, each for now. As the guiding hand for this new storyline, I think Asmus will do just fine.
I’m delighted that Martinbrough is still the main artist for Thief of Thieves, because with each issue I think he just gets better and better. There are a lot of little details that I think come across well here; the family resemblance between Redmon and Augustus (without making them look identical), the annoyance on Redmond’s face when seeing his ex-wife’s new husband, the genuine fear radiated from Augustus when he realizes just how deep he’s in it. The storytelling is also strong; there’s nothing tricky here and there doesn’t need to be either. Each page flows through smoothly and cleanly; always with a strong horizontal path across the page, often with a stack of single panels one on top of another, or occasionally having a horizontal panel chopped up into smaller ones. You can’t go wrong with Martinbrough.
Thief of Thieves #8 is trucking along at a nice pace, and with a collection of #1-7 also en route it’s a well-timed plan of attack for new readers to scoop up both the collection and this new issue. While I’m already eager for Spencer to return to the scripting chair, Asmus has shown that he’ll do a good job alongside Kirkman and Martinbrough for his story, and it eases my mind about the remaining, yet-to-be-announced writers still in the wings. If you haven’t tried out Thief of Thieves yet, this is as good a place to start as any.