Review: SOUTHERN BASTARDS #1

By BRANDON HOWARD
ITC Comics division writer

I love football. Plain and simple, it’s one of my favorite things in the world. I played for 12 years, earned a varsity letter all four years of high school and was an All-State offensive lineman. It’s pretty safe to say that I have a great appreciation for the sport, and when the owner of my local comic book shop told me of this series called Southern Bastards, my heart fluttered with excitement at my love of football coming in contact with my love of comics.

What started out as just a small-talk conversation about me coaching the defensive line at the high school, turned into one of my more anticipated comic book reading experience since the launch of DC’s REBIRTH. And then I was juked and scored on when I read this first issue, realizing that it was completely void of actual football. But surprisingly enough, I was, well… fine with that being the case. There is an abundance of things to like in this first issue of Southern Bastards.

First, I have to talk about the stellar artwork. Jason Latour (artist) really knocked it out of the park on this one. The art was unrefined, a little sloppy at times but all the same gorgeous. It had this gritty, dirty look and feel to it that placed emphasis on the tones of this first issue and set the pace going forward. From the first page, showing the bible-belt ‘billboards’ and mangy dog taking  a shit on the side of the road, I was transported right into the world of Southern Bastards.

Image Comics Present...

Art by Jason Latour

As for the story itself? It honestly felt more like a prologue of sorts than anything else.  I don’t mind that, especially when it was effective at setting up some mysterious conflicts going forward as well as keeping the reader in the dark on many things taking place in this issue.

We are introduced to the old, what I assume is the main character, EARL TUBB. He is returning home after forty years and I have no idea why. Earl has some type of daddy issues that I hope will be explored going forward.  The other character highlighted in this issue was a man named DUSTY. He is a bit sketchy and apart from that, we don’t learn much about him, besides him being in trouble with some other shady characters.  Earl and Dusty have an interesting dynamic that could be entertaining going forward. Their interactions are awkward and forced, but they find themselves in a bind toward the end of the issue when Earl ‘saves’ Dusty from presumably getting badly beaten up by a few guys.

Nighty-night

Art by Jason Latour

Overall, I don’t have a ton to say on this first issue.  It does a nice job of transporting you to this world of Southern Bastards, emphasizes the tone going forward and creates some interesting, yet vague, conflicts that will be engaging to read about going forward. Despite the lack of football in this issue, I am anxiously looking forward to how it will be portrayed on paper. The art style lends itself really well to that kind of frenetic action.  The small town feel leaps out of the pages and I was more impressed with the art than the actual story. Hopefully the story kicks in with the second issue and becomes just as strong. If that happens, this series may just be a game winning touchdown!

I give Southern Bastards #1 a solid 4 out of 5.

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