Hey gang, welcome back to yet another edition of Pulp, where I blather on about the comics I’ve read and somehow turn it into an appealing yarn. It’s a tough gig, for sure, but somehow I manage to keep my spirits up week to week and slog through! This time around, I’ve picked up something that harks back to the older days of Pulp – a fantastic horror comic written by Brian Buccellato (Injustice: Gods Among Us, The Flash): Sons of the Devil. In something of an unusual move, I’ve jumped in partway through the series – rather than start at the beginning, I’ve jumped in at volume 2. I mean, it was purely accidental, but hey, it worked out alright.
While jumping in a full volume into the story is usually going to leave you confused and ultimately rushing to catch up on the details, I found myself caught up pretty quickly. A gripping psychological horror, Sons of the Devil follows Travis, an average dude going about his life as best he can. He spent most of his youth in foster care, and struggles with a fear of abandonment. After the suspicious death of his friend, Travis’ girlfriend Melissa follows a thread that leads to his birth family. The downside? His family is deeply involved in a deadly cult, and his father, David Daly, is its leader. Reunited with several of his long-lost siblings, Travis tries to find out the truth about what happened to his mother. All the while, unbeknownst to Travis, his (presumed dead) father – with the covert assistance of Travis’ sister Jennifer – plots to reunite his children, in order to sacrifice them to honour a deal with the devil made 25 years before.
While it would definitely help to have read the full story, I was still very much impressed by volume 2. Even without knowing the complete back story, I found myself enjoying the book, and I was able to fill in the gaps pretty easily. Personally, I got a lot more enjoyment out of the flashback sequences – I found that they had more in the way of actual horror than the present day story – but the last few pages of the book suggest a big ramp up in terms of action in the next few issues. The big stand out in the flashbacks is the sheer charisma that David exudes, and the hints of his continued activities throughout the present day story provide really interesting plot points.
Artist Toni Infante (Sons of Anarchy) does a great job with character design – David’s design is fantastic, like a more deranged Charles Manson, if that’s even possible – but he really falls short in some of the more basic panel work. I can appreciate the time limits and stylistic choices involved in creating a book of this scale, but there are some panels that essentially focus on featureless dolls. It’s a bit disconcerting, really; one panel will be really finely detailed and look great, and the next will look dodgy. Artistic gripes aside, Sons of the Devil is compelling and really leaves you wanting more. I really get the impression that the next volume or two is going to really kick things up a gear, so I highly recommend keeping an eye on this series.
Written by Alastair McGibbon