Showing the crime underbelly of Dublin in Image Comics graphic novel "Bog Bodies"

Written by Declan Shalvey, Art by Gavin Fullerton and Rebecca Nalty, Cover art by Declan Shalvey.

Once in a while, you come across something so strange and yet so intriguing. Trainspotting was one of those for me. Written in a heavy Scottish accent, so much so, that you felt both threatened by the characters yet also loved their vulnerability. Bog Bodies is another such experience.

The heavy Irish accent makes you feel empathetic towards characters you maybe shouldn’t. The way they say “yer” or use their profanities, makes you almost have a condescending care for them. The graphic novel in this way is not what I would call original, as we have seen such things with films like In Bruge or Intermission, yet just because it treads a similar path doesn’t mean it’s not original or refreshing in other ways.

Shalvey manages to craft characters who are both disgusting and distinguished in equal measures. Meaning we may dislike their actions, yet we still are driven to care for them. One of these characters is our main protagonist, Killian, a youthful gangster forced on the run after a job gone wrong. He stumbles across a young girl who has been hiding and together they need to survive the night from gangsters, and also the bog itself, which has taken lives.

The artwork by Fullerton and Nalty is hauntingly beautiful, I especially like the way they draw the landscapes. As the book progresses from dusk till dawn we see the environment change with the characters.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. Its use of language and violence is gratuitous, yet never pushes into the boundary of excessive. Making it a realistic look at the criminal world. This helps it deliver what can be a cold-hearted book at times in the best way. Dealing with consequences of ones actions, the value of friendship, and the fight for survival.

This was a highly enjoyable read. If you like gangster books, or crime thrillers, I think this will be a good one for you.

Image Comics' graphic novel Bog Bodies ($12.99) is on sale from 20th March 2020 at your local comic shop, and available at Comixology

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