Writer: Ram V
Artist: Sumit Kumar
Colourist: Roshan Kurichiyanil (Rosh)
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Design: Mathanki Kodavasal
Publisher: Action Lab – Danger Zone
After discovering a warehouse full of slaves, the fearsome assassin known as ‘The Count’ refuses to leave without granting their freedom. After butting heads with political revolutionary Solomon, the brigands and their temporary allies learn they are trapped, their escape looking unlikely. As ‘The Count’s’ brutal past is revealed, she proposes a dangerous plan that just might allow them to flee and start a revolution in the process…
Ruin of Thieves #2 is a more personal story than the previous instalment, opening with ‘The Count’ as a five-year-old girl called Waheda. Branded with the intricate tattoos reserved only for slaves, her mother makes a decision and smuggles her aboard a ship. In the present, she bickers with Solomon, trying to persuade him that freeing the slaves is the only option, but he reveals that he used to be a slaver in the past, and knows just what horrible repercussions await slaves on the run. Back in the past, young Waheda impresses the captain of the ship with her feistiness, and we are treated to a fantastically arranged montage of her growing up and learning the ropes (sometimes literally) of a life at sea. The brigands realise they are trapped, their only apparent way out an obvious ambush. ‘The Count’ proposes that they deliberately trigger it whilst she gives the slaves a taste of freedom, and a chance for revenge. Things culminate in a violent and bloody battle, allowing the brigands to escape the island, but with far-reaching consequences. Solomon has a real war on his hands now!
This is a nice, neat issue, encapsulating Waheda’s backstory whilst simultaneously propelling the overall narrative forward. Although her origin is arguably not the most original, it works well, and as always with Ram V’s writing, there are a lot of details about the world in every scene. Dialogue between the characters is quick-fire, entertaining, and keeps the story moving. This issue also allows the relationships between characters to evolve, such as the animosity between Waheda and Solomon, the quiet acceptance by Desault of what Waheda wants to do and the interesting father/daughter relationship Captain Wolfgang has with the young Waheda. This does however leave the majority of the cast on the periphery; this is a shame, as they are an eclectic bunch, but it’s likely that subsequent issues will give them the chance to shine.
The art, colour and lettering team of Kumar, Rosh and Bidikar again knock it out of the park in this issue, with glorious applications of rich detail, colour palettes and intuitively positioned speech/SFX. The story world is admirably brought to life; the characters, and their environments, are highly detailed. Action has a genuine sense of brutal speed, and key scenes/panels stand out through their bold colouring. There are also some fabulous lighting effects, especially as the dockside burns during the impromptu rebellion. It is clear that this writing and art team work well together, and that future issues of Ruin of Thieves will also stand out from other comic books on the shelves. The covers help here, with cover A by this issue’s artist Sumit Kumar showcasing the fiery rebellion itself, cover B by Caspar Wijngaard highlighting the young and adult versions of Waheda and finally cover C by Anand Radhakrishnan providing an almost watercolour look to the final scenes of the story.
Ruin of Thieves #2 provides a satisfying continuation to the story, whilst giving us intriguing character development, all supported by extremely detailed art. Although Waheda has perhaps not the most original backstory, her skill, determination and morals make her an interesting focus. The consequences of this issue, however, will definitely be felt by all the characters in the future.
Brigands: Ruin of Thieves #2 is out now.