Writer: Brian Buccellato / Artist: Toni Infante / Image Comics
After a short hiatus, Sons of the Devil returns and doesn’t skip a beat. Danger rests just under the surface of Travis Crowe’s life as he learns more about his estranged family, uncovering bits and pieces from his orphaned past, which – unbeknownst to him – is a terrifying mistake. While our troubled couple, Travis and Mel, mend their relationship and wrap their head around the relatively normal surprise of Mel’s pregnancy, they’re completely oblivious to the danger they’re inching towards. Travis’ estranged family? They happen to be born of a cult. And although Travis knows next to nothing about them, they know a whole lot about him. They’ve been watching over time, with far more than a passive interest. And soon, things are going to get real.
That’s where issue #6 picks up, with Travis steadily growing closer with his newfound half-sister, Jennifer, and learning what she knows about their family. Sons of the Devil has the ability to edge you close to danger without touching it, the anticipation bearing heavier than the danger itself, like when the Creature from the Black Lagoon lurks just below the swimmer in murky water, reaching up to touch their toes but pulling back as the woman begins to swim, completely oblivious. It’s the type of suspense that makes the viewer want to yell at their screen, or the reader yell at their book, because they know so much more and could save them so easily if only they were able to explain.
It might be most impressive that this book has been able to maintain the tension for this long. Through 5 issues neither Travis nor Mel have come to realize the danger they’re in; the proverbial Creature still swims under murky water and no one we care about has seen it. We do see what the cult is capable of though, and not only is it grotesque enough to make them chilling, but it’s so close that we think each time is THE time it’ll grab them by the foot and pull them under water for the horror to come. In that regard, Sons of the Devil has proved to have flawless pacing.
While Infante’s art continues to complement the tone, there are still some scenes where it feels more rushed than I would like – mid and long-range shots with scarce facial definition or unclear lines. That said, it’s a small concession given the expressiveness and intensity of every close shot, capturing the fear, anger, or despair of the moment. This book thrives at night and has its best scenes in the darkness; it was born in it, molded by it – Sons of the Devil is clearly among the initiated.
Buy two copies of this book and share one with a friend. You’ll need someone to talk about it with – this is a journey for two or more. At this point, the only major question is why Sons of the Devil isn’t being filmed by a major studio right now. This is a great book.
Reading Sons of the Devil? You can catch up on previous reviews here.