I saw the film based on the graphic novel by Max Collins long before reading the book. I liked the movie ok, but I loved the graphic novel Road to Perdition .
Set in the early 1930's the story takes place in the midwest told from the perspective of a now-grown Michael O'Sullivan Jr. Not knowing what his father does for a living Michael Jr. stows away in his car one night to see for himself. Unfortunately his father is the "Angel of Death" for the local mob boss, John Looney. Michael Jr. witnesses a murder committed by Looney's son and is discovered.
Upon arriving home they realize they are in trouble- the rest of their family has been murdered and they have to go on the run to survive. Michael Sr. is determined to get his son to Perdition, KS to the safety of an aunt and uncle. What follows is a father/son story, a revenge tale and a vision of the Depression era Chicago underworld. Throughout their meanderings all over the midwest Michael and his father forge a closer relationship, coming to respect and depend upon each other in ways they never did before.
The black and white illustrations lend the perfect feel to this tale of sin and redemption. Violent and fast-paced this graphic novel provides action, a compelling story and well-developed characters. I couldn't put it down once I picked it up and was pleased to discover a sequel of sorts, On the Road , which fleshes out three different points in time in the original story. While I am not a huge fan of graphic novels- I either love them or hate them- I highly recommend both of these titles, which can be read in one sitting of 1-2 hours. But be warned: once you pick them up you won't be able to put them down.