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adoboPicks: 4 Non-superhero comics about crime that you need to be reading

MANILA, PHILIPPINES — The comic book market is filled with superhero titles, and with the popularity of the genre (in movies) still going strong, it doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon. However, there are a few current titles that can be considered exemplary books of the highest quality that belong to different genres.

Here’s part one in a three-part series of articles about the comic books you should be reading:

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Reckless (Writer: Ed Brubaker. Artist: Sean Phillips)

Titled after the protagonist’s last name, Ethan Reckless is a problem solver for the right price. Set in the 80s Los Angeles, the series has all the creative team’s signature noir atmosphere, fallen heroes, intense first-person narration, and intrigue. Likable yet good in a fight, Ethan’s moral fiber is cut from the same cloth that charismatic heroes like John McClaine and Magnum P.I. wear.

Newburn (W: Chip Zdarsky. A: Jacob Phillips)

Easton Newburn is an unusual detective because he solves crimes for the Mafia. Similar to Reckless in look, it helps that Jacob Phillips is the colorist for the aforementioned title. What makes Newburn different from Reckless is that the creative team relies on dialogue and art to keep the readers involved. What it lacks in the powerful cinematic storytelling that many superhero comics employ, it makes up for it with morally ambiguous dilemmas and hard-hitting conversation.

Deadly Class (W: Rick Remender. A: Wes Craig)

In order to escape being homeless, Marcus is enrolled in a high school for assassins. Remender and Craig take the rite of surviving high school to literal new heights. While the story is grounded in semi-reality, a lot of it takes place in the mind of Marcus, allowing Craig the fun of crafting psychedelic imagery packed with symbolism. Plus, his action scenes feel like storyboards ripe for precision choreography. Remender also uses Marcus as his mouthpiece on various topics ranging from punk rock all the way to 9/11.

A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance (W: Rick Remender. A: André Lima Araújo)

While Deadly Class is a barrage of dialogue and images, Remender makes this title the antithesis of that book. A Righteous Thirst For Vengeance is largely bereft of any speech balloons, told mostly through Araújo’s adept sequential storytelling. Every single panel placement, body language, and expression helps to create a heightened level of suspense. And just like Deadly Class, when the violence strikes, the visual wallop is a real sucker punch.

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