WRITER: Declan Shalvey ARTISTS: Gavin Fullerton & Rebecca Nalty LETTERER: Clayton Cowles COVER ARTIST Declan Shalvey EDITOR: Heather Antos
Thanks to Image Comics for the review copy!
On its face, BOG BODIES is a pretty straightforward graphic novel about low to mid level Irish gangsters. It starts with a pretty common setup – After a job goes badly, someone has to pay the price. which is pretty standard for the gangster/crime genre. Fans of The Sopranos will note some similarities to an early scene in the book, and I initially wondered what the story would add that was new or interesting. The answer became clear towards the end of the book. Where Bog Bodies separates itself is the slow peeling away the layers of a twist that, once revealed, lends an unexpectedly original angle to the story.
There were certainly a number of things along the way that had me thinking that either the writers were leaving some gaping holes or laying some groundwork. The book was enjoyable, but I kept wondering about some coincidences. As it turns out, everything comes together beautifully at the end when all the pieces fall into place. There are references to things that teased out slowly, which can be frustrating as you read. But it makes the payoff much more satisfying when the answer is provided. I also appreciated the dialogue’s ability to convey Irish accents using spelling, punctuation, and some slang. While I am not Irish, the dialogue seemed to capture how real people would talk.
The story takes place at night, and the color palette skews heavily to black, dark blue, and gray. The art uses a minimalist approach, with clear lines set against a largely monochrome background. This isn’t my favorite style, but the art matches the mood and subject matter perfectly. Each of the characters is given a distinctive look, making it easy to distinguish them.
A challenge in reviewing a book like BOG BODIES is letting you know enough to figure out if you want to read it, but not spoiling anything. So, I will leave you with this: I recommend this book. You won’t find superheroes or dramatic action sequences, but as you finish the book, you will find an original take on the gangster genre.
BOG BODIES is now available.
Have you read the title? What were your thoughts? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.