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Road to Perdition (Vertigo Crime) Paperback – November 15, 2011

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Product Details

  • Series: Vertigo Crime
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Vertigo (November 15, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1401231918
  • ISBN-13: 978-1401231910
  • Product Dimensions: 7.9 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (48 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #728,798 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Originally published as a single-volume graphic novel in 1998, this is the comics work upon which the Tom Hanks movie is based. It's the story of Michael O'Sullivan, a feared and religiously inclined mob hit man who's brutally betrayed-and the fierce vengeance he wreaks. It's 1930 and O'Sullivan works for the Looneys, an Irish mob family with a stranglehold on the politics and businesses of a small Midwestern city. Curious about his dad's mysterious "job," Michael Jr. stows away in his car to see what he does for a living. He inadvertently witnesses his father and one of the Looneys murder a crooked cop and his partners. Fearing what the kid saw, the Looneys set the O'Sullivans up to be killed. They murder O'Sullivan's wife and younger son, leaving him stunned but determined to have his revenge. The Looneys go into hiding, and O'Sullivan and son set out to find them, encountering the celebrities of gangland Chicago along the way. Collins writes a good gangster yarn based on historical personalities and full of crisp dialogue, violent action and brooding overtones of religious redemption. But O'Sullivan is essentially a superhero in a fedora, and his ability to kill an overwhelming number of adversaries with nary a scratch to show for it is a bit ridiculous. Though Rayner's b&w drawings can be static, they are precisely rendered with strikingly delineated faces. Like movie posters, his drawings capture the action with a combination of slick draftsmanship and the bleak and shadowy forms of cinematic noir. (Oct.)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Max Allan Collins is a New York Times bestselling author of original mysteries, a Shamus award winner and an experienced author of movie adaptions and tie-in novels. His graphic novel ROAD TO PERDITION was made into a major motion picture by Tom Hanks's production company, Playtone.

Customer Reviews

This is a great black and white "noir" graphic novel.
Johnny Heering
Let me tell you something, seeing the movie and reading this book are two different experiences.
Michael Crane
The story is well written and the illustrations are excellent.
Janine Claudia

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. Ross HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
This grim graphic novel might better have been titled, "The Road to Revenge" and the story is clearly influenced by the legendary Japanese graphic series, Lone Wolf and Cub. Set during the Great Depression, its about a mobster hitman and his son (instead of a samurai and his son iin feudal Japan). Michael O'Sullivan is known as "The Angel of Death" in mob circles for his unflinching gaze and unblemished record as a loyal soldier for the Looney Gang, allies of Al Capone. O'Sullivan lives with his wife and two young sons in the "Tri-Cities" area on the Illinois/Iowa border (Rock Island, Moline, and Davenport). One day, one of his sons-who narrates the story as a flashback-sneaks into his father's car and witnesses a hit he performs. The boys knows killing is a sin and wrong, but his father rationalizes it by explaining that a father's duty is to provide for his family, and being a loyal soldier/killer is all he knows how to do. It's the kind of lip-service to honor and duty that suffices as rationalization in the world of comics and Hong Kong action films, but can't really be held up to the light. In any event, the boy's loss of innocence coincides with his father's betrayal by his employers. Set up to be killed, he escapes, only to discover his wife and other son dead. The father and son duo hit the road for revenge. There's plenty of action and gun-in-both-hand shoot-outs worthy of John Woo, as "The Angel of Death" tries to force the Capone Gang to give up the Looneys. Collins' story and Richard Rayner's meticulous art takes the reader deep into the rackets and slimy lawyers behind the Midwestern mob. Good gritty stuff.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Zack Davisson HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 7, 2002
Format: Paperback
In the Christian vernacular, Perdition is the abode of Satan and the forces of evil; where sinners suffer eternal punishment. It can also mean the utter loss of the soul, or of final happiness in a future state. Here, Perdition is the name of a small town where sanctuary and salvation lie for a young boy and his father.
This comic is part tragedy/part action-flick/part morality play, with each part blending into a complex whole. Historical figures, such as Frank Nitty, Al Capone and Eliot Ness hold the stage with the semi-fictional O'Sullivan family. It is Chicago in the 1930's, a time as operatic as the English middle ages with Knights and Castles, or the Tokugawa era of Japan where "Road to Perdition's" ancestor "Lone Wolf and Cub" is set. Trench coats and Tommy-guns play the part of swords and armor, with equal splendor and symbolism.
The art is splendidly realistic and well-crafted. The realism of the art allows for non-comic readers to instantly enter the story. The comic is black and white, like the characters within. The format is pocket-book sized and is easily portable. The author includes a nice forward, explaining the stories origins and historical setting.
"Road to Perdition" is a great read. I am not generally a huge fan of historical fiction, or of crime fiction, but this one won me over.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Benjamin on January 2, 2003
Format: Paperback
The graphic novel "Road to Perdition," the basis for the movie of the same name, is a grim, bloody work about the grim, bloody world of an assassin for the Chicago mob whose family gets pulled into the violent fray of his business.
Michael O'Sullivan is a man conscious of morality, though he is not a good man. His "business," which he does because he's expert with a rifle and because his boss raised him like a son, is kept separate from his normal life, in which he's a loving, churchgoing husband and father of two boys. The boys are curious about his life outside of home, so one day the oldest son tags along on a mob hit - and endangers the family.
The book, based upon the Japanese "Lone Wolf and Cub" series, is gorgeous to look at - the art really looks like old newspaper photos of actual crime scenes. This gives the work an authentic feel that evokes the period and is incredibly haunting.
The book's plot goes differently in some ways from the film's, and the book is actually better than the film. Michael is never portrayed as a soft man - even as he saves his son. The son is soon drawn into the world of killing people, unlike the son in the film, and has to save his father many times.
The ending of the book, which is different from the movie's ending and which I won't give away here, is a nice, ironic touch.
This is one thought-provoking, consistently interesting piece of art.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Craig Clarke VINE VOICE on December 9, 2004
Format: Mass Market Paperback
My first comment about Max Allan Collins' Road to Perdition novelization is that I admire him for sticking to the changes of David Self's screenplay, despite his being the author of the original graphic novel Road to Perdition. The second thing, and probably more important, is that I enjoyed Collins' novelization more than the movie Road to Perdition as directed by Sam Mendes (American Beauty). Collins' tight prose is a very different approach than Mendes' inherently visual style that often focuses on cinematographic set pieces in lieu of powerful storytelling. However, one cannot help picturing Tom Hanks and Paul Newman in their respective roles, especially given Collins' knack for describing the characters as seen on the screen. For example, this description of John Rooney describes Newman far better than the original John Looney:

"The lanky, almost-tall, white-haired, white-mustached paterfamilias had been a rakishly handsome young man. And even now, in his seventies, his powder-blue eyes, prominent cheekbones, and strong chin gave him the sort of distinctive good looks many a lady ... still sighed over."

I've long admired Collins from afar, having not read any of his work prior to Two for the Money. His prolificity astonished me, particularly one I began seeing his name appearing frequently on CSI tie-in novels. I had seen the movie Road to Perdition, as I mentioned, but, not being particularly impressed by the film, had not pursued any further work by the author until Two for the Money was published by Hard Case Crime (a new publisher I greatly admire) and I actually was immersed into the author's literary world. That changed my mind and I decided to give Collins a chance to tell his own version when I found the Road to Perdition novelization at a library sale.
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