Writer: Brian Wood / Artist: Mark Chater / Dark Horse Comics

The crime drama genre has become a true art form these days, not to be taken lightly. Shows like Sons of Anarchy and, most recently, Animal Kingdom cut their appeal from a similar cloth as the Godfather saga, but take it down a slightly edgier road that relates to modern audiences and touches on timely social issues. Anyone who has read Brian Wood’s dystopic future vision, DMZ, knows that he’s one of the best in the business for this sort of thing. This alone should make the case for the new series, Briggs Land, but I will go on nonetheless.

The story takes place in Briggs Land, a hundred square miles of land owned by the Briggs family, a group of anti-government secessionists turned white supremacist criminal empire. The book begins with the matriarch, Grace Briggs, visiting her husband in prison to deliver some bad news about the future of the family. From there, it’s over 30 pages of taut suspense that tests family bonds as we’re introduced to the major players in what looks like the Hillbilly Game of Thrones.

Wood wastes no time building strong personalities in these relatable and, sometimes, cartoonishly reprehensible characters. The first issue packs a punch like an old school stick of dynamite where Wood lights the fuse and each turn of the page brings us closer to the plot’s inevitable bang. Mark Chater’s artwork is pitch perfect for this pulpy thriller. Even during moments of exposition, the angles give you the impression that the shit could hit the fan on just about any page. The few action beats go by quickly but are beautiful and easy to follow without the reader losing the character’s bearings.

Bottom Line: AMC knew what they were doing in picking up the rights to this one. If any story deserves to be told in live action, it’s this well-oiled crime family saga.

9.5 Car Bombs Out of 10

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