Newburn #5 ADVANCE REVIEW: Newburn finds himself in prison and on his own; has his luck run out?

Written by: Chip Zdarsky, Art and colors by: Jacob Phillips, Cover by: Jacob Phillips.

Easton Newburn, ex police officer with a hardened approach to his cases, now works for the Mafia families as an independent private eye. He takes no side while investigating the crimes that the police force won't touch. With being the middleman to many crime families though, is he in over his head?

On charge of murder, Newburn is held in prison, and as he’s no good to the Mafia families there, it looks like he’s on his own, with no immunity from them or help from the people who serve the justice system. Is he really now in over his head, or can he find out who was responsible for the murder that he’s accused of before he gets killed by the very people he helped put away?

We are back with the hard arsed detective who is playing with fire by dancing with both sides of the law and each different Mafia family. Now he's in jail, the last place he would want to be. After putting away both crooked police officers and renegade criminals, it seems like many would have a grudge against him.

I’ve enjoyed this series since the first issue, however I do still have a small problem, but it’s a minor one: I still would prefer an overarching story or case for them to deal with throughout the first arc. I do however believe that this is the strongest issue so far. Zdarsky manages to put Newburn in the most dangerous place for him considering his line of work, and yet not once does Newburn break the character that we have come to know from the series so far. He’s as cool and collected in prison as he is out of it. Never once do we really think he’s lost control of the situation, even though he has some tough ones to deal with. He also manages to diffuse the situations with both brains and brawn, again making sure that Zdarsky keeps consistency with the character.

We also see a slightly different side to Newburn, too. Without going into spoilers, we know he can be ruthless while getting the job done and protecting the people of New York from massive gang conflicts. This time he’s cold blooded and completely cutthroat. This could be due to him dealing with criminals all around him, so there’s no innocent people to protect, or it could be that he’s gone too far. There’s always a line not to cross, and for him it’s what keeps him distinguishable between the Mafia and him. Although, if he’s been doing the job too long, maybe he’s losing that humanitarian part of him and becoming more like one of them. This is backed up by the above panel which seems to show him rather angry, yet not willing to do anything as he looks up over his paper. If it's developed, this plot thread could be an interesting one to explore as it would look at people's psychology and how they are affected by the company they keep.

Jacob Phillips just keeps getting better and better, considering that when I first saw his art style, I didn’t think it was for me. I’ve now grown to love it. One thing that I think really helps is the lack of background on some panels. This just draws focus on the action or person in the panel, making it even more dramatic. His art style is just the perfect companion to a detective story to the point now where if I see a crime story without Phillips, then something feels wrong.

Newburn #5 is definitely the most intense and intriguing issue so far, well written and impeccably drawn, by a team that I can’t find many faults with. I’m just hoping the quality continues for the remaining 2 issues. I’m hoping that we get another series after that, but who knows what will happen.

Newburn #5 will be released by Image Comics on 30th March from your Local Comic Shop as well as comixology


Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.

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