Southern Bastards #1 Review
By: Rob Neil Gruszecki
Craw County, a small town in the deep south where baptist churches adorn every few miles of highway and the only entity more lauded and worshiped than god itself would be the local football team and their 5-time state championship record. Earl Tubb drives towards his past and his home. Redneck thugs, greasy barbecued ribs, trucker hats, muddy overalls, tucked in plaid, moustaches that demand attention and respect and tar stained teeth with spital flying between the gaps inhabit the town and compliment its muggy, swamp surroundings. Here come the bastards.
Jason Aaron (Scalped, Wolverine) and Jason Latour (Wolverine & the X-Men, Winter Soldier) join forces to tell a dirty story of the grubby south and bastards. Crime, corruption, racism, homophobia, misogyny, stupidity, violence, all the aspects of humanity that cloud our potential and tend to drip down south and ruin the great hub of humanity that the South or any region could for that matter could truly be are in the crosshairs of this new series at Image Comics. Gritty, angry and raw, this first issue of Southern Bastards promises to deliver a similar experience that Aaron’s crime masterpiece Scalped gave us, an honest look at grey parts of America.
Jason Aaron’s writing was one of the reasons I initially got into comics. As a sworn Vertigo and mature readers series fan I enjoyed the dark, brutal and sincere storytelling that titles like Scalped, 100 Bullets or Hellblazer had to offer. Learning of Aaron’s work however with legacy characters I jumped on board and decided to branch out and follow my favorite creators into the Marvel and DC camps. While the work of such creators like Aaron, Azzarello, Milligan etc. are great over at the big two, it’s still always their original creations that keep me coming back to comics and constantly excited for what is to come next. Southern Bastards is the type of book that I have been waiting for Aaron to return to. Sinister, ruthless, pissed-off, and southern. It was always his voice as captured through Dashiel Badhorse of Scalped that got me obsessed with comics and made me crave each monthly installment like a junkie. Tonally, Southern Bastards is the natural progression from the writer and I am so excited to read his return to the adult and violent world of crime and booze fueled hillbillies.
Jason Latour’s style is the perfect visual complement to the world of Craw County and his rough characters, haggard and disheveled, are right at home. The opening page to the book is absolutely perfect, showing the long stretch of highway to reach the county, signs guiding you to eternal salvation all topped off by a dog doing its business in a ditch. A rotten cherry on top of a trash cake. Latour’s contributions to the world of Southern Bastards was one of the most exciting announcements of Image’s expo last year and the finished product lives up to the hype I had been giving it.
Together, Jason Aaron and Jason Latour team to create an epitaph for the Southern Bastards that have taken over their childhood homes and tainted the legacy of the South in the eyes of America. Another strong first issue from Image Comics
Rob Neil Gruszecki is a writer, musician and Wednesday Warrior
Follow him on Twitter @Ghost_Factory