writers: Jason Aaron / artist: Jason Lateur / Image Comics
A theme might be developing with Southern Bastards that is pretty unique and perfect for this type of story. The first arc of the series focused on Earl coming back to his hometown in the south and having some type of “Walking Tall” type of crusade to wrestle back control from Coach over the town. That ended in disastrous fashion when Coach killed Earl in the street for all to see. So…nevermind there. Then in an unexpected and brilliant turn, the next arc turned to Coach himself, a thorough walk on the villain’s journey that gave us the background and motivations for how Coach became Coach. Now, in it’s third arch, the perspective shifts to the Sheriff, an ambitious and bold move. If the book stays true to form, we’ll walk through these next few issues inside the head of the bought and paid for Sheriff who leads and meaningless life (according to him) and watched a man be killed without doing anything about it.
We don’t know much about the Sheriff coming into this issue, but the storytelling is efficient and effective in giving us all we need to know: He was a star in this town, he was about to be a star somewhere else…and then he wasn’t. I’ll let you read to find out how that transpired. But the ice seems to be shattering around Coach Boss with death of Coach Big and now his bought and paid for Sheriff not complying with his every order. And as I’ve stated before, Southern Bastards is ridiculously good, but it also is ridiculously depressing. Ever since Earl caught a splintered whuppin’ stick to the face, we’ve been lead down some dark character paths and I don’t see this changing any time soon.
Jason Lateur is back in action of course and the book maintains it’s hardened, unrefined (in a good way) style. This is a rough way of life where you are chiseled into the person you become and the art shows this perfectly.
Southern Bastards is finally back and is still among the very best of comic books that are out there. A new arc means we get a new character perspective and the lack of coverage on that character previously good round out this world even more.