Written by: Brian Buccellato
Art by: Toni Infante
What would you get if you mixed the tone of Bedlam with the humour of Hawkeye and the art of Spidergwen? If you answered Sons of the Devil then well done. Sons of the Devil is a comic about a young man called Travis, who was orphaned as a child, and his interactions with a still unnamed cult who believe he is the chosen one. I’m really unsure what direction the series is going to take, due to it’s rather slow pacing. For instance, by the end of the first issue I thought the series was going to be a psychological horror/thriller like Wytches and things were going to get rolling in book two but no, there’ more development of characters and laying of dominos to be done before any can be toppled over.
Issue two opens showing us a meeting of a cult led by the mystery man with the red and blue eyes. The mystery man gives a speech and is generally a bit creepy but really the first four pages of the book just seem to be dedicated to setting up a future plot point as it isn’t explored beyond this surface level at all, making it feel like it didn’t really belong. We then see Travis carrying on with his life after the events, he begins moving in with Melissa and the book is largely devoted to fleshing out their relationship which is good because the chemistry between the two is genuinely quite enjoyable at all times. We also see Travis talking to police some more about his friend Klay and Klay’s research into finding who Travis’ parents are and Travis attends the group counselling session Klay had suggested to him. I won’t go into huge detail on the second half of the comic were the pace definitely picks up as that would spoil it but basically Travis and Melissa attempt to pick up where Klay’s research left off and a series of events happen that fly by fast with a large amount of energy through the use of little dialogue and ample space given to it so that actions and scenes can be drawn so that one panel flows perfectly into another in a manner that deserves applause and by far excuses all of the gripes I have on the book.
There is a scene where Travis and Melissa engage in some toilet humour while moving in and although it is funny it almost feels forced due to how formulaic the exchange is, as if I’ve seen or read similar exchanges in other stories. In fact on their own both Travis and Melissa’s personalities seem very flat. Travis is a short tempered scruff who doesn’t respect authority figures but will try to help the little guy and he’s only angry due to the hand life dealt him and Melissa is … Travis’ girlfriend? Honestly that seems to be all the character she’s given which disappoints me to no end as it misses a great opportunity but I’m sure she’ll get more fleshing out as the story continues as last issue I didn’t even think she would be a main character.
I can’t stop questioning the part where Travis goes to the group counselling session (run by the mystery man with the red and blue eyes), it bares much of the same problems that the opening section with the cult does, where it doesn’t progress the plot at all or build character and only seems to be shown in order to build up to something in later issues. I perfectly understand the need for scenes like this and enjoy few things more than when that long anticipated build up finally pays off but the book lingers so long on this moment for reasons I don’t really understand, maybe I will in later issues, and I found myself going, ‘okayyyy….’ to Travis’ line, ‘There is only truth, no matter how sh**ty. The rest is Bull****t,’ which seemed to come out of nowhere.
The thing that I did enjoy the most in this issue was the contrasts done every now and again between Travis and the mysterious man, a reoccurring facet that I hope increases as the relationship between the town is hinted at more and more.
As already stated the art of Sons of the Devil reminds me very strongly of SpiderGwen, to the point I had to check that it wasn’t the same artist involved in both even though I knew it wasn’t. I’m not complaining about this at all however it’s just a good comparison I felt needed pointed out and I do enjoy Infante’s very heavy sketch styled line work. I think it’s the colouring and lighting of Sons of the Devil that bring the illustrations to life more than the line work, especially in night scenes when the lights of cars meld into the air around them.
Overall I like Sons of the Devil and am looking forward to finding out answers to all the series has been raising although I hope that they do make their leads more real than the cardboard cut outs they currently feel like. If I had to sum up issue two as briefly as possible I would say that it messed the bed in the first half but quickly changed and washed the sheets in the second half as well as hoovering the house just to make up for it.