The Last Days of American Crime

Rick Remender, writer; Greg Tocchini, artist

Image Comics, 2015

Before their current collaboration on the series Low, Remender and Tocchini co-created this three-issue noir miniseries (full of lowlife characters, sex, and drugs), which was originally published in 2010 by Radical Publishing. The title is literal: following the death of millions in terrorist attacks across the nation, the U.S. government is readying the American Peace Initiative (API), a broadcast signal that interrupts the brain's synapses, making it impossible for anyone to perform an illegal act. So protagonist Graham Bricke has two weeks to pull off the perfect crime. The government is converting from cash to a credit system. Bricke works as a security guard at one of the banks charged with the transfer, and a properly timed hack could grant nearly unlimited wealth. It's an interesting setup, but it actually only affects the action directly at the very end, as the heist must be timed to coincide with the API broadcast. In the meantime there's a rich cast of characters, each with their own agenda, so there are plenty of complications, deceptions, and double-crosses. This is really a classic heist story, but its political undertones are even more relevant now than when it was first published. Tocchini's art barely looks like the artist responsible for the rich visuals in Low. His work here frequently looks almost unfinished, with characters that sometimes don't seem fully on-model. It is very early in his career, so I blame inexperience as much as the different subject matter.

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