In an afterword on the last few pages of Sons of the Devil, writer Brian Buccellato says,
“I’ve never been in a cult, but for as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by them … What really intrigued me about these cults is how they were driven by dynamic, charismatic leaders – users who imposed their will upon others … I also wanted to explore the lives they affected. And when I stumbled across a photo of babies in Jonestown, I knew I found my way into this world. As a father myself, I wondered what happened to them. Did they survive? And if so, did they ever learn where they came from?”
That is what issue one, titled “Revelations,” is all about, setting up this story of cults and the children rescued from them.
Buccellato wastes no time introducing readers to a world of violence and heartbreak. In the opening pages of the book, we see a man and a woman taking babies from a rundown, makeshift nursery. The year is 1989. The couple gets caught by a single man with a flashlight, but the male kidnapper, armed with a hammer, brutally kills him by caving in his skull. In one of these panels, on page two, we are shown that the baby, who has one blue eye and one red eye, witnessed this brutal act. Fast forward to 2015, and we meet Travis Crowe, the sunglasses wearing protagonist of the story, and his dog, Riggs. Travis is a nice guy with some anger management problems, but overall he seems like a decent human being. Eventually, Travis removes his sunglasses to reveal one blue eye and one red eye. It is later revealed that Travis is the product of foster care and does not know who his real parents are. There are people in his life now that care about him, but his struggle with his emotions causes a physical altercation with his boss which leads to a court date and possible jail time for Travis. Instead the judge sentences him to anger management class and tells him the next time he shows up in front of her he will be doing hard time. At this point, we also come to find that two people from Travis’ past are searching for him, each one for a different reason.
This first issue of Sons of the Devil introduces a tightly woven plot, good dialogue, and some wonderful character building. Travis especially is a character who is easy to relate to. He is not perfect, but he does the best he can in a world that hasn’t been kind to him. Readers will find themselves drawn into his plight as the plot draws him deeper into what appears to be the set up for a twisted story that will turn his world upside down. Considering all of that, what can be said of Brian Buccellato other than that he is a brilliant writer? He deftly weaves his plot around carefully built characters while skillfully pacing the story to draw the reader ever further into this world. And the art is just as good as the writing.
Toni Infante brings a colorful yet gritty art style that suits the plot of Sons of the Devil perfectly. From portraying the brutal killing by hammer to capturing the angst on Travis Crowe’s face, Infante’s art is perfect. It is palpable. For Buccellato’s fantastic story to work properly in this medium, the artist must be able to match the emotion conveyed by the writer. Infante does exactly that. The emotion, the angst, the pain, the suspense is laid bare on the page by Infante’s hand.
Sons of the Devil has the potential to be not only a great comic, but a great piece of literature. The story is relevant to the world we live in. It is real. It is gritty. Buccellato and Infante don’t pull any punches in depicting a real world that can often be more harsh than any of us want to realize. If the first issue of this series is anything like what is to come, Buccellato and Infante should each win an Eisner for this series for best writer and best artist. Sons of the Devil is that good.