Review – Last Days of American Crime #3

The final installation of this riveting series by Rick Remender and Greg Tocchini and published by Radical Publishing is finally upon us. Kevin Cash, Shelby Dupree and Graham Bricke are back in this riveting and plot twisting finale that lived up to the rest of the series. The United States government is on the verge of activating technology that will not allow people to willingly or knowingly commit a crime. This mind control will end crime as we know it in the United States, at least for most people as we find out in this issue.

Bricke is the mastermind of the plan but things just don’t seem to go his way. I suppose when you are pulling off the biggest heist in history – stealing a new machine that will load money onto charge cards as the only official currency in the country – things shouldn’t be easy. Everyone from rival gangs to the cops wants a piece of the action. Shelby is the computer hacker and rather confused love interest of Graham. The catch is she happens to be the girlfriend of the ultra violent and pretty twisted safe cracker Kevin Cash.

You can see that this has the potential to end poorly. It certainly made for a nice final chapter. Read on for a recap, but try to remember there will be spoilers here. If you don’t want to know what happens let’s see if I can sum it up in two sentences. In a finish that makes the twists and turns in Ocean’s 11 look simple it can be hard to keep track of who comes out on top. The artwork is beautiful and brutal and we find – as if we didn’t already know – that the police can be as crooked and more dangerous than the crooks. As I hinted to before, the mind control affects people in different ways and this leads to some interesting twists in the end that I really enjoyed.

I don’t know why I tried to sum up 60 pages of awesome into two or three sentences. Just go get the book or read on if you’d like some specifics.

We open up with Graham, his partner Collins and Shelby at gunpoint by a gang. As is typical of comic book villains the leader starts to monologue about his life’s struggles. This gives the trio time to make an exciting escape from the bunch. The leader suffers a series of painstakingly drawn injuries – the part where fingers fly off the hand was particularly nasty, not that brain matter is ever pleasant – and is sent to meet his maker.

After getting patched up, which was needed badly, the trio heads back to Graham’s trailer to rest up and await Kevin Cash’s return. Graham and Shelby’s relationship continues to develop and it is clear that Graham risking his neck to save her from that gang has altered something in her head. Kevin shows up and claims that the job is done and apologizes for being late. He had to take care of some personal family business and if you’d like to know more just check out Issue #2. It's clear that Kevin suspects something is going on with Graham but Shelby is a pretty good actress.

Another angle that's concerning is that Shelby may be double-crossing both men, as she is meeting with some cops on the side. All of the moves from previous issues come together from using blackmail on a guard to gain the security codes to Graham coming into work and making his move. The cops play a role, but probably not the one they would have liked. In the end, not everyone can survive in a venture with this many enemies and Graham loses someone important to him in a way that never should have happened.

Most of the angles are planned behind the scenes. If this were a movie we’d end up with flashbacks after a few events in this issue to show how they were all set up. I brought up Ocean’s 11 earlier because I really think this book played out in a very similar, if much more brutal, way. If you didn’t like that movie don’t let that turn you off. Remender’s heroes are not nearly as clean and fuzzy as that lovable bunch of villains and enough blood is spilled to make you realize this is NOT a friendly story.

Everything you’d expect of a society that is falling apart and looking for one last score before their minds are taken over is present. Sex, drugs, violence; but I don’t recall any rock and roll. Perhaps it isn’t the evil that people once thought? I loved every minute of it and only hope that if it is adapted to other venues such as television or movies, it can be done in a way true to the comics. Remember that these aren't normal issues; these are Radical’s sixty page mammoth titles so in total the page count is closer to a graphic novel than a standard three comic story arc. You could easily make this into a miniseries or a full three hour movie.

If you are reading this review and missed the first two, while we appreciate time spent on the site reading the first two, you really should just go pick up all three in stores and see for yourself why this is one of my favorite titles of the last couple of years.