Smooth Criminals #7 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 webcartoonists, fine artists, and illustrators. This issue is written by Kiwi Smith, Kurt Lustgarten, and Amy Roy, with art from Leisha Riddel, letters by Ed Dukeshire, and colors by Jamie Loughran, Joana LaFuente, and Gonçalo Lopes.
In the last issue, Brenda and Mia attempted their heist, T-Blue – Brenda’s crush – found out about Brenda’s criminal extracurriculars, and ultimately the Net of Indra failed as a big score. Unfortunately, the pair’s preparedness was no match for accidents and interference from Mia’s mom who guided the two FBI agents to the possibility of a roof escape. Now caught, Smooth Criminals #7 opens with our main characters in detainment. Brenda is nervous while a bruised Mia is calm and cold. Hatch won, and now we have to watch our two ladies deal with his win.
Over the last six issues, Smith, Lustgarten, and in the last one Roy, have worked to weave a story of friendship between Mia and Brenda. They’ve also kept the pace steady, training to pull off the heist is spread out over multiple issues and we get to understand each woman, who they are and their motives. But in Smooth Criminals #7, everything is happening at a lightning pace.
Not only does T.Blue trace Brenda to find her after she’s released from custody, but she’s also totally okay that this cute new girl whom she awkwardly flirted with is a criminal, to the point that she is helping Brenda pull of another crime. We don’t get to understand them in Smooth Criminals #7. We don’t get to see the build-up of a relationship which is disappointed given the care and wonderful execution of the bond between Brenda and Mia in the rest of the series. Brenda exploring her romance with T.Blue deserves that as well.
In addition, the story in this issue jumps from the being imprisoned to being free to being in prison again with the only breather given to a two-page spread of Hatch being funny with the Net of Indra. The hard thing is that had there been building up out of key moments, possibly over more issues, this wouldn’t have been a critique for Smooth Criminals #7. Ultimately, the trajectory of the story isn’t the problem, it’s the execution and how we get there.
That being said, Smooth Criminals #7 starts strong and we even get a touching mother-daughter moment between Mia and her mom, which I didn’t expect given her mother’s involvement in their eventual capture. It’s a touching scene and Riddel’s art and the colors from Loughran, LaFuente, and Lopes work to give it a nostalgic and emotional feel. it’s one of the more emotional moments of the series and quite honestly I wish it had lasted longer. But as I jumped through the story’s many pieces, the art kept me engaged. That being said, the art also made me want more.
I wanted to see Riddel illustrate Brenda and T.Blue’s romance, and I wanted more childhood flashbacks, and oddly enough, I wanted more of Hatch too. Even though there was too much in this issue, I wanted more of the moments in between.
While I am in still in love with Smooth Criminals as a series, I hope it finds a calmer pace and expands on the characters that I’ve come to root for.
Smooth Criminals #7 is available everywhere now.
Kate is co-founder, EIC, and CCO of BWT. She’s also a Certified Rotten Tomatoes Critic, host, and creator of our flagship podcast, But Why Tho? and Did You Have To?. She also manages all PR relationships for comics, manga, film, TV, and anime. She has an MA in Cultural Anthropology and Religious Studies focusing on how pop culture impacts society.