When a TV show becomes popular, it’s not surprising that an entire mythology spins out of it into other mediums. This is the case with Sons of Anarchy being adapted into a comic series and I’m going to review the first volume, collected as a graphic novel. Volume 1 runs parallel to Season 5 and it’s written by Christopher Golden and drawn by Damian Couceiro.
The volume is centred around SOA member Tig Trager, played by Kim Coates in the show. He recently watched his daughter Dawn burn to death at the hands of Daimon Pope, an Oakland gangster. Tig killed his daughter in a botched retaliation attempt against a gang called the One Niners. Tig is living with the damage and looking for any excuse to take his anger out on the world. When Kendra Kozik, the daughter of a deceased club member comes to Charming for protection, Tig feels responsible for her safety and vows to keep an eye on her.
The story unfolds with Kendra on the run from a gangster named Griggs who’s running a child sex trafficking operation. Kendra has hidden two girls and Griggs has sent thugs after her to find out where the girls are. Tig has history with her father Kozik and he agrees to get her to another SOA charter in Tacoma.
Tig is one of the most violent member of the Sons and he’s portrayed exactly as he is in the show. He kills without mercy and enjoys doing it, but he has a softer side that’s reserved for people he cares about. It makes him an unpredictable and complex man, which makes for a compelling protagonist.
After slaughtering his way through Chinese hitmen and guns for hire, Tig is successful in getting Kendra to Tacoma. The two of them share a hug and it’s a sweet ending juxtaposed against all the blood and violence surrounding them. Sons Of Anarchy has always been effective at balancing dark material with themes of brotherhood and loyalty. I appreciate how the comics follow the same path.
Golden’s writing is funny and crass, with a lot of profanity used in dialogue. Couceiro’s art is impressive, with shadows used in tadem with facial expressions to create a moody atmosphere. Each club member looks exactly like they do in the show. Jax Teller is also featured as a background character, which is a refreshing change as there’s more focus on the other members.
My only criticism is the comics could stand to be more accessible to new readers. It’s recommended you watch the show to really understand character motivations. Still, there are enough moments where you can enjoy the story as a seperate tale.
Sons Of Anarchy: Volume 1 can be summed up as a story about fatherhood and the lines that are willing to be crossed to protect family. It’s available now.
Look out for future reviews of the other volumes!