First published in a collected edition format back in September of 2014, ‘Sons Of Anarchy: Volume One’ formed the first instalment in Boom! Studios’ graphic novel adaptation of the ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ series, running parallel with Season Five of Kurt Sutter’s hit television series.

The story was written by author Christopher Golden, with artwork by Damian Couceiro, and collects the first six issues of the ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ graphic novel series.

DLS Synopsis:
When Kendra Kozik walks in on her employer’s men filming underage porn, she doesn’t think about the consequences, she just grabs the young girls and gets them the hell out of there.  Finding out her boyfriend was aware of what her employer, Griggs, had been up to on the side, only made the situation that much worse.  So she gave Brody the goodbye kiss he deserved with the sharp edge of a bottle of Jack and got her arse on the first bus out of there.

Now Kendra’s on the run, with Griggs no doubt more than a little pissed with her for taking two of his girls.  She’s sure he’s also a tad concerned that she might mention his business exploits to the law.  All this adds up to a whole heap of trouble for Kendra.

However, prior to his death, Kendra’s father – Herman Kozik – had been part of the Sons of Anarchy Motorcycle Club ‘Redwood Original’.  He’d been Samcro.  He’d told Kendra, if she was ever in trouble, she should go to Samcro.  They’d help her.

So, with Griggs’ men hot on her heels, that’s exactly where Kendra goes.  The Teller-Morrow Auto Shop in Charming.  Samcro’s clubhouse.

But there’s a problem.  Griggs may just be a small time L.A. porn-shooter, but he takes orders from a bigger fish out in San Francisco – Chinese Syndicate Boss Henry Lin.  Now Samcro President Jax Teller has to make a choice.  Herman Kozik was one of theirs.  But if they protect his daughter, they risk war with all of North Oakland.  It would no doubt be enough to wipe them out.

It’s time for some tough decisions.  Time to set alliances aside and to do what’s right.  For honour.  For loyalty.  For Samcro…

DLS Review:
Like most people, I thought the ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ TV series was some proper hard-hitting, gritty-as-hell honest-to-god topclass entertainment.  I loved the series.  The characters – the storyline – the whole prophecy that was embedded within it.  It’s standout show.  One that captivated your attention.  Pulled you into the hardboiled world of these tough-as-they-come bikers.

As such, I have to admit I was somewhat apprehensive when I picked up the first volume of Boom! Studios’ graphic novel adaptation.  But trust me, there’s absolutely no need to worry.  These graphic novels do the series proud.

Volume One of the graphic novel begins from where ‘Season 4’ of the TV series left off.  From here on in, the story told doesn’t replicate that told in the TV series, but instead runs parallel to the story told in show, filling in gaps and expanding of the SOA mythology.

And to be fair – writer Christopher Golden’s done an incredible good job at weaving the two together.  The attention to detail is phenomenal.  There’s so much in the graphic novel that’ll get you thinking “oh yeah, of course, that’s because so and so happened in the TV series not so long ago”.  It may just be a mention of someone, or something in passing, but it all helps in tying the TV series and the graphic novel series together.  Making it one big mythology.

The story itself is an absolute textbook SOA story.  Gritty, uncompromising, and not concerned with utilising some brutal subject matters – here seen through the discovery of a child porn circuit.  One thing that’s particular noticeable about the graphic novel compared with the TV series, is that the storyline is much more singular.  Aside from the ‘Kendra Kozik’ story, there’s very few other storylines going on.  Although you do have Tig’s character-driven ‘broken man seeking redemption’ story which plays a big part in the parallel running ‘Season 5’.

For the most part Tig and Jax play the predominant roles in the story.  Tig’s trying to come to terms with seeing his young daughter burned to death (ala ‘Season Four’).  In Volume One we see Tig’s story.  How he slowly, painfully, tries to get his head around the sheer devastation of his daughter’s death.  Of course, he feels if he can do right by this girl – Kendra – then he’s maybe some of the way there.  Although Tig’s connection with the girl runs much deeper than that.  Tig owed her father his life.  So now Tig will literally do whatever it takes to ensure the girl’s safety.

With the premise set up, the story unfolds with a natural flow.  Samcro promise to deliver Kendra to her mother, up in Tacoma, Washington.  But Griggs has hired a couple of contract killers to silence the girl.  We’re not talking your run-of-the-mill goons here.  Griggs has employed The Ghost Brothers – identical twin Chinese contract killers who fly around on highspeed bikes and practice some damn nifty martial arts.  As a backup, Griggs also got his man - Jack Stacy – to assist.  Bringing in the gun power, if and when it’s required.

The end result is a storyline packed with violence, tension and bitter hostility.  Throw in some good-old-fashioned double-crossing, as well as Tig’s mission for either self-destruction or some sort of redemption (achieved through bloodthirsty retribution of course), and you’ve got yourself a prime slab of SOA storytelling.

Accompanying the story you have Damian Couceiro’s incredible illustrative artwork.  With a graphic novel take on a story that’s already a TV series, the depictions of the characters, even down to their mannerisms and the way they hold themselves, is absolute key.  Luckily Couceiro has absolutely nailed this.  Every character – whether it’s Jax, Tig, Gemma, Bobby, Chibs or Happy (to name a few) – are each portrayed to near perfection.  Couceiro’s not only managed to replicate their facial features perfectly, but he’s also captured their personality and persona with how they interact and project themselves.  For anyone who’s seen the series (and then read the graphic novels) I’m sure you’ll get exactly what I mean.  It really is quite incredible.

All in all, what you get with this first volume of Boom!’s SOA graphic novel series is a fast-paced and hard-hitting story, drenched in violence and bloodshed.  But, like with the TV series, there’s much more to it than that.  There’s redemption and retribution served on a platter of gritty, hazy morality, as only a SOA storyline can manage.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 160 pages (which includes a twelve page cover gallery).

© DLS Reviews

Other ‘Sons Of Anarchy’ instalments:

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