I watched the film version first, so maybe I’m a little biased, but I wasn’t too terribly impressed by this graphic novel. I mean, it was pretty good, and the artwork was excellent, but it just didn’t have the same impact on me as the film did.
Road to Perdition is a graphic novel about Michael O’Sullivan, an enforcer for the Looneys, an Irish mob family. The Looneys betray Michael and his vengeance is great. Along with his son, Michael Jr., he takes his revenge on the Looney family for what they’ve done to his. Collins does a fair job of drawing real people from that era into his story, and it’s clear that he did a lot of research.
The story itself is a stock vengeance tale — it’s always entertaining to see the bad guys get their due. But the pacing of the novel felt a little rushed to me. I couldn’t get attached to any of the characters because the action unfolded so swiftly, with little development of the characters.
The ending of the movie is significantly different from the ending of the novel. While I kind of liked the novel’s ending, I can see why they changed it for the film — the ending they chose is better suited to the movie they made.
Maybe I would’ve enjoyed the graphic novel more if the edition I read hadn’t included a long preface by the author. It reminded my of Chuck Palahniuk’s afterword in Fight Club, where he basically talks about what an amazing job he did writing this novel. While I can understand and appreciate that Collins poured a lot of passion and energy into this project, it doesn’t help me to enjoy it more to see him boasting about himself and getting high on his own opinion of what he considers his vast talent.
It reminds me of this scene in one of my favorite guilty pleasures, Center Stage. During a rehearsal, the director of the ballet tels the prima ballerina, “I need to see the movement, not the effort behind it.”
Overall, I thought it was a solid graphic novel, and worth reading. It just didn’t blow me away the way Michael O’Sullivan kicking down a door and shoving a gun in my face should have.