Title: The Last Days of American Crime
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Greg Tocchini
Publisher: Radical Comics
Rating: 3.8 / 5
Alongside a few others, it’s my opinion that Rick Remender is one of the current big rock stars in comics. Nearly everything he creates on his own is interesting, engaging and different, while every mainstream title he touches turns to gold. So, spurred by this info and my love for his work on recent titles like Low and Black Science, I decided to delve into a bit of his earlier work and grab The Last Days of American Crime. I wasn’t blown away, but I was certainly pleased.
The story is a new-age neo-noir crime caper set in the near future where America has fallen on hard times. Taking into account rising crime and mortalities, the US government has imposed a broadcast that will affect the minds of its citizens so it will be physically impossible for them to commit a crime they know to be lawfully wrong. In comes our protagonist Graham (or Graham, depending who he’s talking to).
Graham clearly has a crummy past, which we are slowly told about through exposition, but he’s also classically relatable. A good guy dealt a bad hand. Remender tells Graham’s story by giving us equal parts excitement and shame. We learn though, that his only goal is to do one last score (the score, they call it) before the broadcast happens so he can go and live out the rest of his years in peace. But he’s going to need a team.
We get colourful cast additions in Shelby and Kevin, a sort of Natural Born Killers duo, who join up with Graham on the job and each bring their own devious motives to the table. The whole time I was reading it I was waiting for the proverbial other shoe to drop and I gotta say it kept things interesting. You just know at some point one or multiple double-crosses will occur and Remender does a great job keeping them at bay while moving the story along at the same time.
Greg Tocchini’s art shines in almost every panel. With the exception of some loose lines and confusing facial expressions, his art is really one of my favourites at the moment. I never knew about him until I picked up Low, but that comic cemented my enjoyment of his style. It’s chaotic while at the same time it’s fresh. It looks like everything is a raw sketch and I mean that in the best way possible. It’s not that he’s leaving stuff unfinished, but it’s like the story is moving so fast and he’s trying to keep up. That being said, I love the details he’ll manage to throw into background scenes and tertiary characters.
At the end of the day, The Last Days of American Crime is a thrill-ride and a crime caper, so does it pay off? I think so. It’s not got the depth of other titles like Low or Black Science, but I think it’d be unfair to compare them since those are not only on-going instead of self-contained, but different sci-fi animals altogether.
If you want a fast read with some exciting action bits and a general sense of “who is going to betray who first” then I would recommend this title to you.
Review by Brent Gladney