Friday, October 28, 2011

Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris Review

Gangsters, Mafia, avenging angels and a bucketload of violence. That’s what Troy Duffy and JB Love’s Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris, is all about. It’s available for pre-order now at 12 Gauge Comics and will be released next month.

Troy Duffy’s independent film The Boondock Saints and its sequel have garnered a massive cult following. Despite it’s very limited theatrical release, the first film grossed almost $50 million in domestic video sales. The critics hated it, the fans loved it. The story follows Irish twins Connor and Murphy McManus as they go on a mission to rid Boston of crime. Wanting to further delve into the world of the Boondock Saints, Duffy collaborated with comics scribe JB Love and Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris was born.
In Nomine Patris follows two stories – The McManus twins investigate a murder, while their father, known as Il Duce (the Duke), tells the story of his rise to infamy. We learn of the events that led him to become a sort of avenging angel, which ties into the brothers’ story as they seek to avenge a murder and bring a crime family to it’s knees. It’s this righteous anger that drives both Il Duce and the McManus twins, and it makes for some pretty compelling reading.
The action sequences were great - well paced and nicely laid out. Some of the scenes were totally bad-ass, the kind of action that makes you step back and think "that was awesome." On top of that, The book displays a really good balance between the high octane action sequences and the slower, dialogue heavy scenes that are a vital ingredient in mafia stories. The dialogue is well written – witty in some parts, brutal in others. The characters, especially Il Duce, are well developed. You really get to understand his passion and drive, and like all good antiheroes, he makes you pump your fist and go "yeah!" The antagonists aren't just one-dimensional mobsters, either. They have character and motivation, although some of the characters’ Italian names can get a little confusing.
On that note, parts of the story were a little hard to follow. With the narrative jumping back and forth from the present to the past and the list of characters in both narrative lines, I sometimes had to flick back and see who was who and where they were. I had not seen the movies when I read the book as I wanted to read it from the perspective of someone who was coming into the story completely fresh. While I was able to follow and enjoy the story for the most part, I think the book is far more suited to fans of the films.
Guus Floor's art reminds me a little of Sean Phillips, albeit with simpler lines. While at times it’s a little messy, the overall look and feel is a murky and gritty, which goes together with the story like tea and biscuits. Thick lines and a muted palette dominate every page. As with the story, it is the action sequences that are the real hero. Dynamic, exciting, full of energy - they're a real thrill to read.
Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris takes Troy Duffy's world and delves deeper into it. No real knowledge of the movie is needed, particularly if you're a fan of mafia stories, but it helps. The story can get a little confusing at times, but it's solid enough to be thoroughly enjoyable. The art wont blow your mind, but it serves the story well. The book is a must read for fans of the movies, and if you’re into gangsters and the mafia, you might want to check it out too. 3 ½ stars.

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