Friend of the Devil: A Reckless Book (Image) - review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, June 17th, 2021  

Friend of the Devil: A Reckless Book


Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips

May 26, 2021 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Ed Brubaker and Sean Phillips continue to do everything right with the second installment in their hardcover series for Image. This time around it’s 1985 and freelance badass Ethan Reckless must go up against skinheads and Satanists to solve the mystery of a missing starlet. If you’re a fan of sunshine noir (Robert Altman’s The Long Goodbye, William Friedkin’s To Live and Die in L.A.) and/or those ’70s/’80s action TV shows where a cool but damaged loner with a very particular set of skills helps people in need (the original incarnations of Magnum P.I. and Knight Rider) then look no further.

Since Criminal began in 2006, Brubaker and Phillips have continuously delivered top shelf pulp storytelling. The aesthetic they’ve created is immediately identifiable yet manages to remain as fresh and fascinating today as it was 15 years ago. It’s almost unimaginable that any other creative team could launch a series of hardcover graphic novels following a brand new character during the pandemic. But the roaring success of 2018’s My Heroes Have Always Been Junkies, 2019’s Bad Weekend, and 2020’s Pulp (all featuring Jacob Phillips as colorist) proved this unlikely format was more than commercially viable.

Friend of the Devil feels substantial and not just because it’s a hardcover book. Brubaker’s afterword explains this story of a lost sibling was inspired by deeply personal family history. In that context, the gorgeous art from Sean and Jacob Phillips’ father-son collaboration carries additional weight. But it never gets too heavy. These Reckless books are thrilling and fun and I hope they keep making them for years to come. (

Author rating: 8/10

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