This review was originally published at InfiniteComix.com
Having spent the last several years co-writing DC’s The Flash, Detective Comics, and Injustice, as well as Dynamite’s The Black Bat, Brian Buccellato is starting to define his voice as a writer. In reading his current body of work, there is a discernible everyman quality to his words, with an undercurrent of dark humor and macabre sensibilities. It is that combination which Buccellato uses to build the world of Sons of the Devil. The few characters introduced aren’t particularly likable, including the protagonist, Travis. But despite that, Buccellato manages to draw readers in by dropping slivers of hope into this grimy world. For example Travis gets punished at work for tardiness – due to him helping out a young child who was lost – which results a cussing battle with his boss.
The above is an example of the tonal inconsistency of the book, which serves to unnerve the readers and keep them in state of uneasiness. It’s an effective tool in a horror setting, as any situation, regardless of its benevolence, can result in mayhem. The aforementioned scene with Travis helping out a young child is one such situation, as readers are not presented with the final outcome. It is assumed that Travis was able to get that child to safety, but did he really? Perhaps that will be revealed at a later date.
The uneasiness readers feel throughout the book can be attributed to Tony Infante’s sketchy art style. The rough, detailed linework combines with Buccellato’s murky color palate from to create a world that is both familiar and off-putting. The few splashes of color, be it the red stains of blood or Travis’s severe heterochromia iridum, pop off the page and instantly catch the readers attention. Perhaps the most important thing about the artwork is that the world the creators have built feels lived in, which in turn serves to make its horrors feel more real.
As this is the first issue, there is a great deal of focus on building the world. Whatever horrors Buccellato and Infante have in store for readers are teased, but not revealed. With series such as Outcast, Wytches, and Nailbiter, Image Comics has the market cornered on top-notch horror comics. Based on the strength of its first issue, Sons of the Devil has the potential to rise above any of those titles.