Writer: Jason Aaron / Artist: Jason Latour / Image Comics
SOUTHERN BASTARDS BAAAAAAAACKKKK.
The Brothers Jason, y’all were gone too long, fam. Don’t do us like that again please. So yeah, our favorite Football Murder Book is back and just as brutal as when it left. A quick centering before we get into this review: Consider the fact that Southern Bastard’s first issue released in April of 2014, well before any of us (right up to election night) thought a Donald Trump presidency was possible. The last issue before hiatus came out just around (but obviously written well before) Trump’s inauguration. Since then, we’ve seen a heightened profile and unfortunate importance of the confederacy’s role brought into mainstream view. This book is by no means on the level of critique that Confederate is for a plethora of reasons, but it is a book focused on a part of the country that wishes for the “South to Rise again.” By the time you read this review or the comic book itself, who knows what other crazy shit will have transpired down in Charlottesville, but I do know that I don’t envy the creators: a couple of really talented artists who have been writing this book for over three years with a new and profound lens that their book my be viewed through.
As for the comic book itself, yes, it’s good to have this book back, circumstances aside. Coach Boss committed one of his more grievous acts in the last issue and the chickens be coming home to roost. With a vengeance. Coach Boss has enemies closing in from all around and has still managed to make new enemies, all in the name of his team winning football games. It is evident that anyone with any sense has distanced themselves from him and the only people still unflinchingly loyal to Boss are idiots. Very dangerous idiots.
We got more time with Sheriff Hardy this issue, who had some great face-to-face with Coach Boss himself that might be among the best interactions the book has offered. He’s a prime example of how folks are really just tired of Boss’ shit and there might be enough resistance against him for that to be a safer stance than it once was.
It’s nice to have Latour’s carved out of wood look back in rotation for this book. The characters in this book are just flat-out beaten down and they look it. A particularly poignant panel showing a retaliation to Coach Boss’ actions that I don’t want to spoil stands out as the flashpoint for the tone of this book. It just works, as it always has.
Southern Bastards returns in a climate that makes its characters a lot less obscure feeling than they might have once felt before. The quality of the book has not changed though as this brutal and thrilling book continues to hit all the narrative notes, inching us closer to something big going down in Craw County.
Have you been reading Southern Bastards? Catch all of our reviews here.