Brian Buccellato is taking his time. He wants us to know that the end result in Sons of the Devil won’t be as important unless he moves the playing pieces around a little beforehand, naturally. He doesn’t force it; you don’t see his hands manipulating. It may not feel like a lot is happening – there are no big action scenes, no murders, no car chases – but, in the grand scheme of things, chapters like this sometimes turn out to be the most important. This is a character-driven story, and Buccellato is playing the long game right now.
I’m not going to recap, beat by beat, for you, but here it is in short: an orphan named Travis with one red eye, one blue eye, and an anger issue has been in search of his family only to discover that he may be the possible son of David, whom the reader knows to be a cult leader. And, that cult leader may be something a whole lot more wicked than that.
Travis has secretly started going to group therapy run by this man who hides the fact that he also has a red and blue eye . . . oh, and murders people in a very cultish way (and who has a smile that sends chills up your spine.) At group therapy, Travis is approached by someone who claims to be his sister.
Buccellato has started off the last couple of issues flashing back to the late ’80s, slowly revealing a back story and the possible beginnings of Travis’ life. Jenny, the sister, creepily (for the reader) reveals some of these details to Travis and calls this cult a commune, where she was happy, which makes us question her true allegiance and intentions or maybe she’s really just confused. Melissa, Travis’ girlfriend, makes a few discoveries of her own and feels even more on the sidelines in Travis’ life.
Let’s talk about Melissa for a moment, because a little twist at the end may propel this book in some crazy directions. She approaches everything as if she is, and comes off as, a very patient person, but only after living with Travis for a brief time, everything is falling apart. Some might put the blame solely on Travis and his growing erratic behavior, but half of this comes from Melissa also keeping a secret. A pretty big one at that, and you can see how, because of it, she’s not seeing or reacting with emotional clarity. This is the care that Buccellato is putting into the book. No character is overlooked. Every character is given three dimensions and dilemmas of their own to solve. An action truly does create an equal and opposite reaction in this world.
Toni Infante’s art continues to be exceptional. When Travis sees the picture of his possible father and cult leader, with one red and one blue eye, the look on his face is one of horror. From panel to panel, you never don’t know what these characters are going through. There’s a cinematic appeal here, and Infante’s pencil should win an Oscar for acting.
There is one element of this book that is starting to become repetitive. In the final few pages, Buccellato takes us away from Travis’ story to focus on David doing something cultish and evil. I don’t know where this is all going yet, but leaving on this note is starting to lose its effect. Hopefully, even if it’s simply structural, he begins altering the structure of each issue a little. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to give the reader a little more bang for their buck.