Pride & Joy

Author: Garth Ennis
Artist: John Higgins
Titan Books
RRP: £1.99
ISBN 1 84023 803 8
Available 23 April 2004

Once a notorious criminal who betrayed his murderous boss, Jimmy now has kids and is trying to settle into a normal life. But he is engaged in a ceaseless battle with his disaffected son, who knows nothing of Jimmy's past until, that is, his father discovers his ex-boss is out of prison and after his blood. But, as he attempts to protect his family, Jimmy must tell the truth about his terrible past if he is to save them...

Pride & Joy is one of those graphic novels which almost slips into the realm of pretentious, angst ridden self indulgence. Almost, but not quite. It would have been so easy for Garth Ennis's writing to have faltered in such a clichéd father and son story.

At the centre of the story is Jimmy, his young daughter and his angst ridden teenage son, who never quite lives up to his father's expectations - or at least that's how the young adult feels. Jimmy's own father, now long dead, was a real man's man - one that Jimmy idolised. And now Jimmy's concerned that his son doesn't feel the same way about him. But that may not matter soon, not if a ghost from the past manages to seek his revenge on Jimmy.

There are some fine comedic moments, thanks mainly to Jimmy's ex-partners in crime, and in contrast some pretty brutal moments. Jimmy has a few skeletons in his closet, but there is one that still haunts him... an accident that should never have happened.

The artwork is impressive, helping to draw you into the story, which is extremely well conceived with a well executed conclusion.

Nick Smithson

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