Book Review: Road to Perdition

Having reviewed the movie a couple of weeks ago,Let us now critique the graphic novel that inspired the flick. Authored by Max Allan Collins and with artwork from Richard Piers Rayner, this book is a black-and-white work of art.

It is a tale of a mob enforcer, Michael Sullivan and his quest for retribution when the son of his boss, John Looney brutally executes his, Michael's son and wife. Despite the fact that Hollywood stars Hanks and Newman collaborated to make the movie version worth watching, the book stands a few notches above the movie.

The art work is brilliant and the plot in the book moves faster than the movie. The dialogs in the book are crisp and well written. Unlike Tom Hanks' unassuming rendition of Sullivan, the one in the comic book version is quick witted and more fearsome, more in line with his nickname, the Archangel of Death. The book is more action packed and gripping than the movie, which is saying a lot.

The book has many real life characters like Ness, Niri and Capone making cameo appearances. While the movie has stayed faithful to the book for the most parts, it has chosen to alter certain parts, part I felt, must have been preserved. In fact the author claims that some of these incidents that were left off from the film were real.

The story of an assasin on the run with a young son is reminisent of the classic Manga series,
Lone Wolf and Cub. Many believe that the author lifted the whole plot from the series. However, the mob element and the oneliners in the book make it a distinctive American story and more like a modern western set in Ilinois in the 30s.

This book is again testimony that graphic novels have come a long way from the ones I read in my younger days. Indeed,by virtue of their language and art, graphic novels like these, have earned their right to be classified as modern literature.

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