Smooth Criminals #1
Writers: Kurt Lustgarten & Kirsten ‘Kiwi’ Smith
Artists: Leisha Riddel
Smooth Criminals #1 brings 1999 with a groovy touch to comic books. The new series by Kurt Lustgarten, Kristen ‘Kiwi’ Smith and Leisha Riddel is an action-comedy series and mostly succeeds in what it sets out to do.
In 1999, super hacker Brenda is stuck in her dead-end job. She insists that she is a force to be reckoned with but simply isn’t taken seriously by those who have power over her. When she is stuck cleaning a random backroom, she finds a mysterious pod, hacks her way into it, and is shocked to find Mia waiting inside. It turns out that Mia was stuck in a cryogenic chamber, and is actually a master thief from the 1960s. Now, the two characters are teaming up to finish Mia’s job, as well as find a way to get her back home.
It feels like we have been here before, but the script feels fresh. The issue reads like a buddy action-comedy movie. Mia acts as the experienced straight-man, while Brenda is the comic relief who is completely out of her element. Despite the simple plot, the writing team has made Brenda pretty easy to like as a character. She is an underdog and a complete dork, but full of potential. It’s easy to connect to the underappreciated character, as most of us feel like we are destined to do more than what our jobs expect from us. Mia currently seems to be fairly one-dimensional right now, but there is plenty of room for development later on.
Despite the fun script, the series doesn’t actually astound in any way in this first issue. The issue is fairly predictable and lacks any surprises. Outside of that, Smooth Criminals #1 is simply an enjoyable read.
Artist Leisha Riddel allows for the characters to pop. The character designs are fantastic, and the expressions are top-notch. The action scene also pops, with great angles and composition to show the strengths of the characters. The colors are subdued, but still vivid. While the plot screams out “movie,” the art says “animated series.” The clear influence of various media shows throughout the issue and makes for a fun experience.
Smooth Criminals #1 doesn’t innovate the genre but serves as a fun time. The characters are easy to love, and the art nails the aesthetic. Hopefully, things ramp up from here.
Smooth Criminals #1
Smooth Criminals #1 doesn't innovate the genre but serves as a fun time. The characters are easy to love, and the art nails the aesthetic. Comedy fans should give this one a read.