The Bronx Kill promised to be gritty, grimy, and noir. Yet what we get is a deeply rooted family drama that's both twisted and perverted amid a backdrop of a missing persons case that sometimes jumps around a little too much to make sense.
The art by James Romberger is moody and effective. The styling of each character is distinguishable page to page - you never get lost in the narrative trying to define who is who. For some reason I pictured most of this graphic novel taking place in the day time - even though there are a number of clearly drawn night time sequences. The Bronx Kill, the location, that is, that dumping ground of human waste both organic and non, just feels right in the day time - a seedy decrepit dark contrast to the sunshine.
Peter Milligan writes a nicely woven family drama than spans generations of adultery and murder. That was interesting. But a little of the spice was lost when in a matter of pages we jump months or even years without a segue or indication in a panel (bar one scene when Martin leaves America for Ireland and returns 4 months later). It can be confusing to the reader.
The Bronx Kill is a decent read that has a great twist but lacks a little rationale. There is one character, Kerry, who appears late in the book loaded with plot bombs that changes the course of Martin's story. Perhaps if she was introduced earlier, her character would have had more of an impact and the story would've felt more organic. That said, I see what Peter Milligan was trying to do and I liked it.
I'd rate this Vertigo Crime graphic novel a solid 3.5 / 5.