The devil closes in and Travis kicks ass in ‘Sons of the Devil’ #2

SonsoftheDevilCoverSons of the Devil #2
Written by Brian Buccellato
Art by Toni Infante
Published by Image Comics, Inc.

Brian Buccellato’s tale about Branch Dravidian-style cults and the lives they affect continues in Sons of the Devil #2. The intrigue surrounding nice guy with anger issues Travis Crowe gets even more intense as the mysterious man who has been stalking him begins to close in. The man’s identity is hinted at and Travis goes ballistic on the man who killed his foster brother in the last issue.

Issue #2 begins with a flashback to Northern California, circa1989. A man wearing a mask fashioned from a bull’s skull is talking to his reflection in a mirror. He says, “Nine times ten, the blood of submission … and nine more the blood of my whores. The blood of my children. Ninety-nine and will it be mine.” When he takes off the mask, we see that it is a man with one red eye and one blue eye – just like Travis and the man stalking him in the present. From there, the man addresses his flock, a congregation of white-robed men, women, and children. His speech is powerful, and between his charisma and the sheer force of his words he easily convinces the parents in the congregation to bring their children to him to partake of his blood. He cuts his finger with a knife and rubs his blood across the lips of each child that is brought to him. Flash forward to 2015, and we see the mysterious man with one red eye and one blue eye dressed in a suit and inserting a blue-tinted contact lens to cover his genetic deformity. As he leaves, the anger therapist whose identity he is assuming is seen in the foreground, bound, gagged, and bloody, but still alive. He then meets with Travis during a group therapy session where both men appear to be bored and agitated with the other members of the group. Eventually, after leaving the therapy session, Travis and his girlfriend manage to track down – through coincidence and blind luck – the man who killed Klay in issue #1. Travis delivers a brutal beating to the man, but leaves him alive. However, the killer’s master, the mystery man, is not so merciful.

As with issue #1, Buccellato’s script is expertly plotted and masterfully written. The lines, quoted above, at the beginning of the book are simply chilling, and possibly a portent of things to come in the book. A foreshadowing of sorts. His dialogue is spot-on, especially during the group therapy session where the participants – other than Travis and the mystery man – spout off meaningless psychobabble in an effort to make themselves feel better, until Travis lashes out saying, “There’s only truth, no matter how shitty … the rest is bullshit.”

Infante’s art brings the already excellent script to another level as the characters are brought to life via Infante’s skill with a pencil. While the action sequences are wonderfully rendered, it is in the subtle nuances of expression and body language where Infante truly shines. Again, the group therapy session is a prime example. The panels range from wild gesticulating from the normal attendees of the group to the bored expressions of Travis and the mysterious man – whose expressions and body language are subtly similar.

Buccellato and Infante make one hell of a great team. Script and art come together seamlessly panel after panel and page after page. There are so many things that make this comic special. The refreshingly different theme, the tight plot, the character art, the muted colors, the art after someone is murdered (there is a focus on the blood spatter that is both chilling and breathtakingly beautiful at the same time) all combine to make this comic a real stand-out.

Sons of the Devil issue #2 is just as brilliant as issue #1. Buccellato and Infante each deserve an Eisner for this series – it is that good. If you’re not reading this comic, you should be.

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