Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Brian Buccellato
Artist: Toni Infante
Release Date: 30th September, 2015
As we wrap up the first arc of the series, the latest issue of Sons of the Devil features all of the defining characteristics that have made this book one of Image’s standout titles of 2015 so far. We have the strong characterisation of central character Travis, whose life is gradually crumbling apart around him. We have the blistering visuals of Toni Infante, whose scratchy, expressive style gives an added aura of menace to the book. Most of all however, we have the shockingly grounded nature of the horror, and the worryingly believable feeling that what we’re seeing could very easily happen.
The flashback sequences continue to provide the bulk of the aforementioned horror, with the disturbing events in the commune of the ‘Sacred Co-Op’ taking an unexpected shift. A cult leader impregnating women so that they can bear children to be sacrificed is harrowing enough, but the calm, matter-of-fact way that Buccellato handles David’s exchanges with his followers is enough to make your skin crawl. Infante helps immeasurably in this regard, providing some truly chilling panels featuring the man himself, both in the past and the present. Infante’s work is all about subtlety; a faint sneer or a knowing smirk, and that’s exactly what makes his depiction of the fiercely charismatic yet utterly menacing David so compelling.
Travis continues to carry the title, providing an innate sense of relatability as his quick temper and lack of forethought sees him lurching from one bad decision to another. The relationship between he and his girlfriend Mel has been brilliantly paced thus far; the gradual cracks forming as their lies and secrets threaten to destroy them, a situation which reaches a fairly powerful conclusion near the end of this issue. Oh, and Buccellato makes sure to throw us one last curveball in the final two pages, making us question everything that has happened so far and highlighting the true danger that Travis is in – even if he remains blissfully unaware of it for now.
My only real criticism of this issue would be the fact that it didn’t necessarily feel like the end of an arc. While the final twist was a definite game-changer, I don’t think it was quite hammered home with enough ferocity to really make it resonate the way it should. That, and the fact that there are still way too many questions left hanging in the air, and that I don’t want to have to wait until next year to find out what happens next! Heh.
While it may not be fast-paced enough for some reader’s tastes, this to me is a masterclass in slow-burning, grounded horror. Featuring strong characterisation and a brilliant premise, punctuated by brief glimpses of truly chilling horror, Sons of the Devil is a title that gets under your skin and asks a lot of really interesting questions about the true nature of evil and whether we’re ever fully able to shake off the legacy of our families.
If you haven’t been listening to us and have somehow missed out on this series, have no fear, as the first collected volume will be released this November. I honestly can’t urge you strongly enough to pick it up if you haven’t been following this series so far. You can thank me later.
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