I’ve yet to hit vimeo to watch the tie-in short film to Image’s new series Sons of the Devil, but I can’t imagine it being any more gritty and cinematic than its comic book counterpart. Writer Brian Buccellato (The Flash, Convergence: Crime Syndicate) and artist Toni Infante’s tale of murder, identity and shocking revelation is a slow- burning creeper with a detective-film-noir-meets-70s/80s Satanic cult-themed-horror-flick aesthetic, just the ticket for mystery and horror fans alike.
Beginning like the previous episode with a flashback to 1989, the second installment of our story takes a step closer to uncovering the identity of the mysterious red/blue-eyed pseudo-Manson in the photo, and the nature of his relationship—if any—to Travis, as well as the cult’s implicit role in the disappearance of several children, including a cop’s missing daughter. In the present, Travis attends the adult orphan support group, and we are introduced to its leader who is, of course, not who he appears to be. Travis and Melissa move in together, and at Melissa’s behest he reluctantly resumes the search for his birth family started by the now-deceased Klay, getting in touch with the man responsible for the mysterious photo of his purported relative, with a startling outcome.
In the murder-mystery/horror genre, it’s easy to lose your audience if the pace at which your story unfolds is too deliberate, or if too many subplots are introduced. Buccellato, however, masterfully takes his time divulging the what/who/when/where/why; as the story progresses, more of its facets are revealed, but never in a way that feels overwhelming or gratuitous. Its part-detective/part-horror story agenda splices these familiar themes together in a way that feels fresh and seamless, never hackneyed. The questions Buccellato leaves readers with are the kind that leave them wanting more, not the pointless kind that leave them hanging (or wanting more…from a different comic).
As a big fan of another series of Sons—BOOM! Studios’ stellar Sons of Anarchy series—I am also a fan of the splendid art of Toni Infante, whose arresting work here elevates Buccellato’s story to dark new heights. The frenetic intensity of every panel of the chase scene (oh yeah, forgot: there’s a chase scene in this issue!) is worth the price of admission alone, and reminded me of the stunning, ominous portraits of Jax, Juice and Happy on the covers of SoA; I would think they were moving if I didn’t know they were standing still, which is a true trademark of great comic art.
I’m not sure where the events of this month’s issue of Sons of the Devil will lead. And I really like that. It’s refreshing not to be handed another Satanic-cult story with a super-predictable outcome, even with a few of the usual trappings in place (but just enough for you to recognize its influences). Buccellato and Infante are onto something special with this series, and I for one can’t wait to find out what’s in store for the Chosen One.