Review: Heist Or How To Steal A Planet #1 (Vault Comics)

While crime caper stories seem to be a dime a dozen in the cinema, in comics it feels as though they are something of a rarer breed. However, Vault Comics, currently offering readers a lot of different, and well executed, ideas in the last year, attempt to remedy that a little with Heist or How to Steal a Planet. Can this new title steal readers interest or will it simply end up doing time?

Publisher: Vault Comics
Writer: Paul Tobin
Artist: Arjuna Susini (Artist), Vittorio Astone (Colorist), Saida Temofonte (Letterer)
Price: £2.49/$3.99 on Comixology

Heist or How to Steal a Planet tells the story of Glane Breld, a veteran con-man and recently released prisoner who returns to the planet Heist, a world filled with over 9 billion criminals, in search of a very specific crew for a very specific job. However, as Glane prepares for the task of stealing the biggest score of his career, old enemies and others bitter at Glane’s betrayal of their world to the Pan-Galactic Government may force his plans to end far sooner than he expected (or would like). But, then again, nobody said it would be easy to try and steal a whole planet.

Heist’s first issue is an interesting read, providing a good groundwork for the overall story with a solid, consistent pacing. While the title is most obviously the beginnings of a crime caper, it also feels like the beginnings of a redemption story for its lead character. Glane’s personality (expertly envisioned by writer Paul Tobin) is someone with the confidence and swagger to be a con-man in the vein of Edward Burns in Confidence or Paul Newman in the Sting, and comes across as a character whose surface has barely been scratched in this first issue. Meanwhile the ‘job’ he speaks of really feel like a means to undo the mistakes of his past.

Unfortunately, the other major characters of this issue are very one dimensional in comparison, but they do at least serve to add depth to the world of Heist. They give the world a very lived in feel, akin to The Sting taking place in Mega City One or the Fifth Element’s New York City. Unfortunately, this world building, while a great benefit, is also Heist’s major problem in this issue as the pace, for all it’s consistency, feels slow and the story doesn’t appear to move very far. That said, Heist’s opening instalment provides a cliffhanger ending which seems like a nice change of pace, possibly hinting that the ‘heist’ part of the story is about to start.

Artist Arjuna Susini provides an art style which works perfectly for Heist’s environment and tone. With rough lines, Susini really works to sell Heist as grim and dirty place, which is only enhanced by Vittorio Astone’s colours which contrast the feel of Heist overall with a colourful palette which gives it a rather over blown and garish look, similar in the style of Blade Runner, but also hinting at an over the top nature in the vein of the original Robocop. Both also do a great job to really sell the idea of this planet being both overrun and a ‘hive of scum and villainy’ with almost every panel looking crowded with a vast array of differing alien species.

While maybe not as apparent as with other titles like Sera or Resonant, Vault Comics appears to be onto another winner here with Heist or How to Steal a Planet. While, this first issue does seem to idle, the truly fitting artwork along with the promising hint of what is to come within the rest of the story, makes Heist a title worth keeping an eye on.