ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Smooth Criminals,’ Issue #4

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Smooth Criminals

Smooth Criminals is published by BOOM! Box, an imprint of BOOM! Studios which focusses on producing comics with experimental content, specifically using creators outside of the traditional comic industry like web cartoonists, fine artists, and illustrators. Issue number four of Smooth Criminal follows Brenda, or as the internet knows her, Killa-B as she befriends a cryogenically frozen thief from 1969 names Mia.

Smooth Criminals #4 is written and created by Kurt Lustgarten and Kirsten ‘Kiwi’ Smith, with art from Leisha Riddel, colors from Brittany Peer, and letters by Ed Dukeshire. Up until now, we’ve learned that Mia was on her last job before her big heist to steal the Net of Indra but that last job, robbing the Ice Man, wound up with her frozen. When an ever-curious Brenda is forced to clean out a new space for the computer lab she can’t help but hack into the cryogenic chamber and let out the person who over the last four issues has become a great friend.

At the end of issue three, the women have scoped out the museum exhibit holding the Net of Indra and are ready to start planning. But it won’t be easy as Mia’s rival Hatch has inserted himself into the two’s planning night and since he looks the same as he did 30 years ago and is in a relationship with the Ice Man’s daughter, there has to be some supernatural thing keeping him young.

In Smooth Criminals #4 we see Brenda using her brains to come up with equivalents to the museum’s security system. Talking teddy bears and Venetian blinds make up for a bonding sequence between Mia and Brenda that leads to us learning that both women aren’t straight. It’s a beautiful reveal that pulls the characters closer together in their friendship.

With that moment, we get a cultural commentary on the 90s and even early 2000s. Mia is shocked that 30 years later people don’t openly talk about it and explains that at least in the 60s free love meant that you had the ability to love who you wanted. As Brenda explains what “in the closet” means you can tell that both women wish society was further along than it is.

This issue is more about set up than action. In it, we learn more about Mia, her mother, who appeared at the end of the last issue, and even Hatch. That being said, Hatch is what I like least about the issue, with some of his parts cutting the flow of the narrative just to make a kale smoothy.

The art is cute and fun, with colors that pop off the page. There is little serious about this book’s style but in this issue, it’s clear that there will be levels to the story. The writing is accessible and fits with the 1999 timeframe.

Overall Smooth Criminals #4 is in line with the previous issues and is progressing the story nicely and I greatly appreciate the time it takes to build out a real connection between Mia and Brenda.

Smooth Criminals #4 is available where comics are sold on February 27, 2019.

Smooth Criminals #4
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TL;DR

Overall Smooth Criminals #4 is in line with the previous issues and is progressing the story nicely and I greatly appreciate the time it takes to build out a real connection between Mia and Brenda.