Artist: Greg Tocchini
Publisher: Radical Publishing
Release Date: December 23, 2009 (Issue #1) / May 18, 2010 (TPB)
Crime is rampant and a way of life in the future, and America has become a dystopian society where only those who have the power and money are the ones calling the shots. Frankly, the government is sick of it and devise a way to stop it with a form of mind control to subdue such people. One man, however, plans to pull of the last and biggest stunt in his criminal career, going all out just for one last heist. This is the world of the book, "The Last Days Of American Crime", where there is no-holds barred and an enjoyable read from start to finish.
If you can't tell from the title already, this is a crime thriller novel and is definitely not for kids. From the first few pages, we meet our anti-hero, Graham Bricke, introducing him already committing a ruthless act. Graham is one cold-blooded guy, but he does have a certain charm as the lead character. He soon learns about the government's plan to brainwash their citizens from doing any crime, but he's not having it. Thus, Graham devises a plan to pull off his final (and biggest) heist of his criminal career, and the deadline until the mind control broadcast is fast approaching. The government also makes it more difficult for Graham to perfom the heist since they convert all physical cash into digital currency. This in effect discourages any crime to be done since payment won't be tangible anymore. Soon, not everything goes according to plan, and Graham's group find themselves going against other gangs, dealers, and criminals also looking to pull of crimes of their own before the broadcast goes into effect.
The story revolves around Graham and his team, Shelby Dupree, Kevin cash, and himself, as they assemble all the things needed to get the heist into motion. Rick Remender's story for this graphic novel is really dark and nothing is held back. Sex is present amongst all the violence. The characters each have their own ulterior motives and motivations and such things are revealed as the story unfolds. Although Graham is portrayed as a cold-hearted bastard, you do end up sympathizing with him when he reveals why he actually decides to go on with his plan. Shelby may also come off as a manipulating character, but even her motivations make you you feel sorry for her as well. Kevin, however is enigmatic most of the time, but his actions within the story are imperative to Graham's plan.
It's all set to the point where you would feel like American society has gone to hell. There are drug lords and crime bosses calling shots and killing people off mercilessly, while there are fights on the streets along with riots. Even the legitimate looking rich men are people who have got to their position using criminal means. The whole plot of a government controlling everyone out of desperation and stopping crime is interesting, and even the characters within the story have their doubts that it would work. Last Days' story also isn't for the faint of heart. There is lots of gruesome, gory, gratuitous violence, and this goes on in nearly every other page.
As for the artwork, Greg Tocchini does a fantastic job with this series. At first I wasn't to impressed with the art since it was too stylized and not with that much line work, but I changed my mind since the panels really transition at a nice pace. This makes the action scenes in the book look really fluid and effective especially in the shootout and fight scenes. The color palette used for the art mostly consist of bright, bold colors and more tonal and earthy pastel spectrum which gave a very dark feel to the settings and drawings. And since I'm reviewing the trade paperback, there are also notes and extra artwork in the end that goes into the design of the characters as well as a bio. Interviews are included in the end that go in depth with the planning and production stages of the project.
Overall, The Last Days of American Crime is a great read throughout and a fantastic entry for those who like crime stories. It ranks up with Sin City with its noir elements and unrelenting scenes of violence. This story is intense and a great addition into the crime comic genre. This novel has also caught the attention of filmmakers to be turned into a movie for the big screens, which is awesome. If you're looking for a new crime story to read, I would highly recommend to give this one a go.
9.5 out of 10
Review by: Chris Cayabyab
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