Alack Sinner: The Age of Innocence –  “A highpoint of 20th century comics” began as a noir-drenched New York crime series and evolved into tackling political, racial and psychological themes in a haunting, nuanced and complex fashion. Carlos Sampayo, José Muñoz, and EuroComics.

Alias: The Secret Origins of Jessica Jones – She’s now a TV star and this is the best of the private investigator’s graphic novels, revealing why she’s so fractured and self-destructive. It wasn’t always that way. Brian Michael Bendis, Mark Bagley, Michael Gaydos and Marvel.

Blacksad – Fantastic collection of the opening three volumes of the crime drama, each of them perfectly composed slabs of compulsive reading. The twist is that all the protagonists are animals. It’s twisted Disney on speed. Juan Díaz Canales, Juanjo Guarnido, and Dark Horse Books.

Gotham Central: Corrigan – The award winning look behind the scenes of Gotham City’s police department provides a quality, character-driven crime procedural series. This closing compliation is the best with its investigation of a corrupt cop. Ed Brubaker, Greg Rucka, Steve Lieber, Kano and DC.

The Killer Inside Me – Filmed at least twice, Jim Thompson’s novel is an unflinching look into the heart of the emotionless killer. Set in the 1950s, the sordid and steamy plot is propelled by a first person narrative from the killer, a Sheriff’s Officer. Adaptation by Devin Faraci, Vic Malhotra and IDW.

100 Bullets – Every volume is essential, but begin with the opener. What would you do if someone gave you a gun, a hundred bullets and guaranteed immunity? That’s just the starting point of this superbly drawn, twisting and twisted drama. Brian Azzarello, Eduardo Risso and Vertigo.

Parker: The Outfit – When Richard Stark’s uncompromising early 1960s protagonist is targetted by the mob, he takes the war to them in a thrilling page turner and a visual tour de force. “A seedy delight” superlatively adapted by Darwyn Cooke. From IDW.

The Shadow Master Series Volume 2 – ‘The Seven Deadly Finns’ is a densely plotted crime noir about the disintegration of a family operation, and also hilarious with it. “One of the finest stories published in mainstream comics during the 1980s”. Andy Helfer, Kyle Baker and Dynamite Entertainment.

Stray Bullets: Dark Days – Stray Bullets is massively ambitious drama with an ensemble cast spanning twenty years, but every book can be read without knowing the others. “The contrast between what most people know they should do, and what they actually do”. David Lapham and El Capitán.

Three Strikes – How quickly can a life go wrong in present day USA, and what, if anything can be done to set that life back on track? This excellent character-driven drama escalates the tension to breaking point by presenting people you care for. Nunzio DeFilippis, Christina Weir, Brian Hurtt and Oni Press.