Stickleback is an ongoing series from England focusing on the Pope of Crime, the eponymous Stickleback. If you haven’t read Volume One yet, and you like organized crime and conspiracies, go pick that up and then come back and read this review.
WRITTEN BY: Ian Edginton
ART BY: D’Israeli, I.N.J. Culbard
RELEASE: December 17, 2014
Reviewed By Katy Rex
The plot to this continues where the first left off, following (and celebrating) a mysterious crime lord. The last volume dealt with clockwork automatons masquerading as psychics and a city-wide secret order of corrupt authority figures. How do you top that? Why, with a plan to regain total and tyrannical control over London’s criminals, of course. In order to maintain his criminal papacy, Stickleback must reign with an iron fist, and although many of the would-be crime lords in London know better than to challenge him, there’s a newcomer in town. The pacing is occasionally a little slow, which is both frustrating and anticipation-building.
I know the black-and-white no-outlines style is chosen purposefully, and the character designs are great, but I can’t help but wishing this book was in color. That aside, however, the lines are clear, the panels are straightforward, and the art makes this an easy and enjoyable read. D’Israeli makes full use of the effects of negative space, and balances drama with realism. The exaggerated features of the characters make their trope-like characterization intentional, satirical, and the slightest bit campy. The technique is almost reminiscent of wood block printing.