Protect Your Product With Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #1
by Josh Davison
[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Caucasus is a mega-store where a customer can get anything and everything they want. Nussbaum is a theft prevention agent who is charged with applying swift and violent justice whenever a customer attempts to shoplift an item from the store. He’s armed, trained, and can practically smell a shoplifter from five aisles. He thinks he knows his place in life until the president of Caucasus, Mr. Provo, attempts to purchase a gun in order to kill himself in the store.
Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #1 brings us to the sterile dystopian world of a Wal-Mart-style superstore that takes product protection to a lethal new level.
We get to see how Nussbaum handles theft prevention from brutally tackling people to the ground to shooting a shoplifter’s leg off, and instance in which he broke a customer’s neck is even referenced.
While the identity-breaking terror of mass consumerism is one of the main themes of Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated, it’s easy to apply the over-the-top violence of Nussbaum’s methods to American law enforcement writ large. In that and many other ways, Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #1 is both interesting and smart.
The reader gets to know Nussbaum as well as some of the other Caucasus employees quite well through the course of this issue. Nussbaum is the one who we learn the most about, namely how he perceives himself and the necessity of order in the world around him. This, as well as unresolved anger issues, is what gives him such violent zeal. On top of that, we also get to see when all of that order is stripped away and how he handles that lack of structure.
Stefano Simeone’s artwork gives a shifting and flowing style to the world of Caucasus and Nussbaum. Action and motion is fluid and impactful, though it does leave the background detail a little hard to parse out at times. That said, the visual design is distinct and grabbing, and the color work is the right level of cold and off-putting for the story’s tone and themes.
Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #1 is a peculiar, smart, and intriguing opening to this new AfterShock series. It has its finger on the pulse of modern consumer culture and the relationship between law enforcement and the citizenry. It manages to wrap these themes around what promises to be a compelling personal story of a person lodged into this system as a brutal enforcer. This one is definitely worth checking out and earns a recommendation from yours truly.
Shoplifters Will Be Liquidated #1 comes to us from writer Patrick Kindlon, artist and cover artist Stefano Simeone, letterer Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou, and variant cover artist Antonio Fuso.
Final Score: 8.5/10