Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris
Written by Troy Duffy and J.B. Love
Art by Guus Floor
Letters by Innfusion Studios
Covers by Chris Brunner
12 Gauge Comics
Release Date: November 9, 2011
Cover Price: $19.99
Long before two Irish brothers became prayer-reciting vigilantes in south Boston, their father went on a similar crusade against the mob. Before the legend of “Il Duce,” there was the life of Noah MacManus. Fans of the cult classic film The Boondock Saints know there were a lot of unanswered questions about the man whose name wasn’t even revealed until the sequel. Though the second film answered many of those questions, the series took to a new medium shortly thereafter, with 12 Gauge Comics publishing a trilogy of comic series exploring the character’s backstory. Now, the whole story is collected in a single graphic novel for the first time in Boondock Saints: In Nomine Patris.
Though the story seems like a tie-in with the second movie, it was released after, and the writing reflects that. You should see both films before cracking this one, it was clearly written for those who did.
The narrative shifts several times throughout the saga. The short portions of the story feature the MacManus brothers in the modern day, hunting down various criminals in Ireland and Boston. A majority of the story takes place in the past as a combination of Noah’s storytelling and excerpts from the journal of Louie “The Roman.” The present-day stories don’t seem to be much more than story-boards for action sequences, and at one point the dialogue is so cheesy it is facepalm inducing.
The biggest issue I have with this series as a fan of the films, particularly the first one, is how it completely dismisses the religious subtext prevalent in the first film. Though it is strongly hinted at, the first film never definitely says whether or not the Saints’ mission, along with their hidden talents as hitmen, comes from a “higher power.” It’s implied their father Noah was the first to receive the calling, but the history presented in this story shows a Noah driven by the need for revenge and bloodlust. Even after he avenges the death of his own father, Noah continues to hunt down and kill countless mafia thugs, all while his friend Louie acts to steer Noah’s anger in a direction that is useful to the Yakavetta family.
This part of the story also directly contradicts dialogue from the first film, where the former head of the Yakavetta family says he only used the services of Il Duce three times.
This would all be easier to brush off as the usual inconsistency that exists in the world of comics, but with Saints creator Troy Duffy as a co-writer for the series, there’s no real good excuse.
The dialogue is fine for the most part, even with the unnecessary misspellings intended to emphasize the MacManus’ Irish brogue, which seems to waver between chapters. But the weakest moment comes when Murphy inexplicably pretends to be a woman named Britney, only to break character a moment later and shoot a thug in the head, all while saying “Oops… I did it again.” How’s that for a dated pop culture reference?
The original cover art by Chris Brunner and Rico Renzi (shown in the back of the book) is sharp, and, even using only a few bold colors, really grabs your attention. Honestly, if these weren’t comic covers they would have made great alternative posters for the second film.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the interior artwork, which lacks detail and is often quite dull. It almost seems like they had some rough sketches done and just decided to go with them.
Overall, I don’t think fans of the series or casual comic reader will be terribly impressed by this compilation. Those who have never seen the films would be lost as there is no exposition or character backgrounds whatsoever (aside from Il Duce that is.) The story adds very little to what is already present in the films, and the lack of new major plot developments make it unlikely to be connected to anything in the future of the series…if there is one.