Lowlifes by Brian Buccellato

Title: Lowlifes.
Writer(s): Brian Buccellato.
Illustrator(s): Alexis Sentenac.
Colourist(s): Alexis Sentenac.
Letterer(s): Maximilien Chailleux.
 IDW Publishing.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: January 15th 2019.
Pages: 128.
Genre(s): Comics, Crime, Mystery.
ISBN13: 9781684053766.
My Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆.


When the going gets tough, do the tough really get going? In a world where the opportunities to embrace vice are just an inch away from us, it’s no surprise that we see many succumb to dark desires, whether it is for simple exploratory reasons or a debut into a completely different lifestyle, it is nonetheless one that might not exactly be called law-abiding. In an effort to revisit the classic noir stories that are relatively rare nowadays, two comic book creators look to highlight the lowlights of some of the dirtiest and crooked individuals living in the heart of one of America’s most popular and historically-rich city.

What is Lowlifes about? Throwing us back into the days where Los Angeles rhymed with corruption, American writer Brian Buccellato (The FlashSons of the Devil) and French artist Alexis Sentenac (Assassin’s CreedSiberia 56) join forces to write the story of three lowlifes who seek redemption or destruction through morally ambiguous decisions and actions. From a revenge-seeking cop to a haunted thug, there isn’t a person in the City of Angels that lives his life within the boundaries of the law as they search a way to satisfy their deepest and darkest desires while clinging onto their best sides.


It’s rarely ever a good sight to see a hero fall into the tempting traps of villainy as they get tangled into a web of self-destruction. In Lowlifes, you follow a good cop who struggles with the justice system after being unable to serve justice to a criminal who got away with raping his wife. This is where you witness his descent into the underworld as he does business with the wrong people to get the dirty things done. While the story was unexceptional yet addictive, it remained predictable and struggled in terms of originality. A lot of the intrigue remains simple to the eye of the accustomed, and the short length doesn’t help its case as the pacing was too accelerated to fully embrace the evolution—or should I say de-evolution—of the characters.

Without any surprises, the artwork is entirely set in a darker tone, close to sunset-colours to capture the sinister atmosphere of the story. The character designs are decent although some facial expressions are a bit too creepy to fit the context. However, artist Alexis Sentenac does a decent job of working with Brian Buccellato’s ideas. The faster pacing that was due to the shorter length is not always ideal for the story’s development but it does give way to an easy-to-read tale where all the events ricochet into one another until you finally connect the dots by the end.

Lowlifes is a decent crime story where redemption is sought through criminality while happiness is tainted by the means taken to attain it.


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Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!



12 thoughts on “Lowlifes by Brian Buccellato

  1. Ha, this is interesting. I’m currently reading Deathwish by Brian Garfield. It would tie into this very well. But not in the despairing kind of way. There was still hope back in the 70’s 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ay yi hi! stupid “enter”.

      Anyway, Deathwish is about a man who takes the law into his own hands, but he doesn’t descend into the cesspit of evil. This sounds like the otherside of that coin. And that is what I found interesting…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So, he’s some kind of vigilante who doesn’t cross that line to get things done. There’s definitely a rational reasoning that helps a person do things right but when venturing in extreme circumstances (i.e. the whole wife getting raped and aggressor not getting caught), some things are so much harder to see and understand for that person.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Well that’s exactly what I thought when I saw your “exhibit” that the tones did match the topic and mood of the story!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hm, sounds interesting but man – creepy facial expressions, it’s either going to add to the grimey, dark feeling or just be plain unsettling?

    Have you read any of Ed Brubaker’s ‘Criminal’ series? I think that’s pretty much the perfect crime comic and the art by Sean Phillips just makes it even better. Great review my friend!

    Liked by 1 person

      1. There’s a new ongoing for Criminal which I’m enjoying and I’ve since picked up the previous runs in a digital sale, so looking forward to diving in. Love Brubaker’s work generally, his Captain America was phenomenal and his Image series The Fade Out and Velvet are superb.

        Liked by 1 person

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