Review - The Last Days of American Crime #2

Radical Comics has really produced a lot of great books recently, but The Last Days of American Crime is my favorite. Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini have combined to write and draw a compelling and brutal adult book about what might happen if every criminal mind in the country realized they only had a matter of days left to commit crimes. On the one hand, maybe they would just give up and go legit as an advance way to get ready for the new world. This story focuses on the criminal element on the other side of the argument, namely everyone who is out for one last huge score before the order hits.

If you missed the first issue the basic premise is that the American Government has come up with an Orwellian means of mind control that will prevent people from disobeying the law in any way. This will occur as a part of the American Peace Initiative where a radio frequency will be broadcast that will effectively control people’s actions while within range.

In addition to this the government is converting all paper money to plastic digital currency. These cards will be able to be loaded by a select few machines at a highly guarded location. Graham Brick is a security guard at the facility they are being kept at, only there he is known as Rory. This issue shows him setting his plan into motion while contending with some old friends who have come back from the dead.

The story opens at a gang headquarters where we witness a brutal murder and then a boss that wants Graham because he seems to realize that Graham has a plan to steal a money machine. Graham also had a rough encounter with one of his underlings named Enrique that seems to be quite connected in the criminal world. Flash to Graham, who is at work, double-crossing his superiors and setting up his heist. Graham is worried because he is getting too close to Shelby Dupree, the beautiful and seductive hacker who is critical to Graham’s plan to make the machine work. Why would that worry him? Perhaps because of the muscle that comes along with Shelby.

From here we get a better look at the man Kevin Cash. The thugs who sell drugs to him decide to try to attack him after the fact. What follows are three very brutal and somewhat stomach wrenching deaths for the dealers. After that Kevin pays his family home a visit and promptly takes the place apart. He is VERY scary. Once it is complete he calls Shelby and we hear a half conversation that seems to indicate that Graham may be getting double crossed.

Soon after this Shelby is kidnapped by the gang and Graham is left for dead in a burning room. The following chase and recovery of the very important hacker is a really well drawn and executed series of scenes and we get an idea for how hardcore Graham is. As with any good crime-ridden scene, another cliffhanger awaits as Graham exits the building only to face down another group of guns.

What can I say? I love it. It is gritty and messy and the story progresses nicely. The picture of how Graham intends to pull off the heist is coming together nicely, but it is becoming obvious that other people want a piece of the action. There are double-crosses developing and I’m not sure what the outcome will be. Over the top of everything this issue leaves us four days away from all of these activities becoming literally impossible if the signal works. The characters develop nicely and there is plenty of stomach wrenching, sometimes brutal action to keep you turning the pages.

I love the almost watercolor feel to the artwork because it seems to match up well with the feel of a world gone crazy. Everyone is a little out of control and from the lack of straight edges in the artwork gives the scenes that crazy out of control feel the writing seems to be going for. I can’t wait for this series to continue, and if it does end up converted to other forms of media as has been reported I hope they can convey the feeling of a collapsing society into that as well as is done in this book.