Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Writer: Christopher Golden
Artist: Damian Couceiro
Release Date: 17th September 2014
A comic book crossover from a TV series has a tricky job to do. There has to be enough set-up to hook newcomers to the series. But, here’s the tricky part, there has to be little set-up so as not to alienate or bore fans already familiar with the series. There also has to be enough reference to the TV show for the existing fans to place the comic book story within the TV series and share insider information so that they feel ‘right’ with the spin-off. The first collected volume of the Sons of Anarchy manages this quagmire splendidly.
The action within takes place between seasons 4 and 5 of the hugely popular, Kurt Sutter-helmed TV show. This book actually ends with Clay Morrow sitting down with the nomads that carry out his carefully orchestrated raids on Charming in season 5. It begins shortly after Tig’s daughter Dawn is killed by Pope and Koziak is killed by a landmine. So existing SOA fans can place this story chronologically and should feel that what follows sits nicely in the SOA world. Newcomers shouldn’t feel lost either as there are extremely brief – they don’t intrude – narrative boxes that bring them up to speed without heavy reliance on the TV show.
Koziak’s daughter Kendra escapes from a kiddy porn business run by Griggs and ultimately Lin, who is a well-known SOA associate. She runs to Charming and Tig, who her late father promised would always be there for her. The club, taking their ‘family’ seriously, set out to take down Griggs, keep relations with Lin sweet and protect Kendra. Tig, who has recently lost his own daughter Dawn and continues to blame himself, takes this last part very seriously indeed. It’s a double redemption – for Dawn and for Koziak, who he only recently reconciled with before Koziak was killed.
This is firmly SOA territory. The whole show is built on mayhem – dirty crime, guns, motorbikes, keeping relationships, killing enemies, getting revenge, seeking redemption. Brother, this stuff is Shakespeare. Fans are not going to be disappointed, they will feel right at home in Charming with Samcro. Newcomers, well, it’s a ride and hopefully it’ll bring them to the show. Newcomers will not feel lost or that they are missing out on salient backstory.
The comic, like many others these days is digitally coloured. I am not sure where I stand on this yet. The purist in me rebels, the fan in me loves the saturated, smooth colours, the clean lines, the perfect blends. Here we get the dirt and steel in a muted palette. We get the black leather and the crimson blood. Samcro is really brought to life. And maybe the most important question – do the characters look like the characters? Well, yes, yes they do and this number 1 SOA fan could tell who was who without needing to read. I call that a rip-roaring success.
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