Sons of the Devil #1 Review

Written by: Brian Buccellato

Art by: Toni Infante

Publisher: Image

Sons of the Devil has the chance to become a stellar Image title. It has a cool story and some incredibly interesting and great art. Unfortunately, the potential of the story is what ultimately left me intrigued as this first issue failed to really dig its hooks into me despite laying the groundwork for the rest of the series.

The story of Sons of the Devil is the best thing this title has going for it. While the first issue does give us a few hints into the meat of the story, the official summary is what is sure to be the most compelling thing for potential readers. Our protagonist, Travis, has grown up most of his life bouncing between foster homes and never knowing his true parents or where he came from. But as the story plays out, we soon discover that Travis has familial ties to a deadly cult.

This first issue essentially just introduces us to the groundwork of the series. A couple of cool panels give us some insight into Travis’ time as a baby before we’re forwarded to present day and an adult Travis. The rest of the comic tells us more about who Travis is today and sets up the inevitable discovery of who Travis’ family is. Basically, some mysterious stranger just might have some information about who Travis’ birth dad could be.

The story itself is as good as any first issue could be without giving away too many details (minus a few tired plot devices, like introducing characters to serve as nothing more but creating some turmoil for the main character) but the pacing and introduction of characters is odd. While Travis takes center stage we’re introduced who characters that we can assume serve of some importance to Travis but they have such little page time that they quickly get written off as simple characters that may as well be only referred to as “Travis’ foster brother” and “Travis’ girlfriend”. And even in that regard, while showing the potential to become some great characters, they only exist to showcase how much of a distant and needy asshole Travis is.

Which I get. Travis grew up without any real solid family and was bounced between foster homes. He’s definitely going to have so aggression and even fear about finding his birth parents or even admitting that he needs other people around him and can have a family himself. But every interaction we see is him treating every other character around him as either a burden there to annoy him or as someone he desperately needs on his path to redemption. It’s great to see these characters call him out on such behavior but it makes for a main character that has little going for him outside of his need to take care of children who could potentially be lost or parent-less. And I don’t think I hate Travis for these traits. I think I hate these traits because they’re so common any time anyone wants to give their hero some edge or some tragic backstory. And since this is all we’ve seen of Travis, we’re left with a character that can be swapped with any number of other characters found in multiple forms of media. He’s just not very interesting. I’m hoping that changes though, since his background and the people around him can certainly help mold him into a much more three-dimensional character as he discovers his family secret.

Writer Brian Buccellato has done some great work on The Flash and Detective Comics so I’m hopeful that this first issue is just the all too common case of a first issue being a slow burn as it sets up characters and plot so the rest of it can kick into the action and not let up.

The art is by far the best part of this first issue and it has a wonderful and unique art style that is absolutely perfect for the issue. Artist Toni Infante utilizes a sketchy style of rough line work that is instantly appealing and leads to some panels actually being interesting when they could’ve become bland and routine with a cleaner style. Infante’s depiction of violence looks great and while scenes are bloody, they aren’t too over the top. I consider this a good thing because a title like this could go from a serious, story-driven title to a more trashy gorefest real fast. Infante is also crucial in giving us some important visual clues that seem to be extremely important to the entire story at hand and manages to convey these things well without making them too obvious.

Toni's art is a delight with its rough, sketchy designs

Toni’s art is a delight with its rough, sketchy designs

My only complaint with Infante’s work is that sometimes character models get too sketchy and you lose out on some character expressions and facial structures. This is mostly frustrating because it doesn’t stay consistent and you’re left with some extremely well done expressions in one panel only to have characters dissolve into a Picasso-esque mess the next panel over.

Sons of the Devil #1 wasn’t necessarily bad but there are a few complaints that keep it from being an absolutely gripping title. Will I pick up the next issue? Probably. The promised story is too good to pass up. However, I can definitely see myself forgoing issues until a trade is available if I’m going to have to rely on the occasional tired plot device, a bland main character, and a slow set up to get to the good stuff.