The Bronx Kill is a graphic novel released through Vertigo’s crime imprint. In case you’re not aware, Vertigo is a division of DC Comics, aimed at mature readers and offering mature content. Not pornographic, mind you, just a little bit more adult-themed. Think of DC as network television, and Vertigo as HBO.
Peter Milligan delivers a story about a young writer who opted to ignore the family’s history of going into law enforcement. He takes his young wife to visit The Bronx Kill, a space of forlorn land where terrible things have happened to his family in particular. She is fascinated by it, especially given his father’s past. The writer soon leaves the country in order to research his newest novel, but when he returns, his wife—and his life—are irrevocably changed … and it has everything to do with The Bronx Kill.
I have to admit that much of Milligan’s story was predictable and well-tread. However, he put enough suspense into it to make it an enjoyable read, and once through the first third of the book, I couldn’t put it down—despite its familiar ingredients. Milligan did one thing, however, that really set The Bronx Kill apart. He inserted excerpts from his main character’s latest novel, and it isn’t long before the passages begin to parallel the main storyline. I thought this was a nice touch that really made the book feel special. It definitely augmented the book’s quality in my mind.
James Romberger provided the art for The Bronx Kill, and he does a serviceable job. To me, his work didn’t really stand out as especially captivating. And while he successfully conveyed the mood, the story’s progression, and the action, his pictures just didn’t seem to totally fit with Milligan’s themes.
Overall, The Bronx Kill is a fast, enjoyable read with some moments of real originality. If you’re a fan of crime noir and sequential art, I’d give it a try.