After a strong debut last month, Southern Bastards returns this week with its sophomore issue, once again written by Jason Aaron with art by Jason Latour. Is it good?
Southern Bastards #2 (Image Comics)
Even just two issues in, it’s clear that Jasons Aaron and Latour are onto something special. A large part of the success of Southern Bastards can be attributed to its acute sense of place. I’m not talking merely about setting, because Southern Bastards is about so much more than where and when the story is set. Craw County, Alabama feels like a real place, and I’m not going to ruin that rare illusion for myself by looking it up. It feels lived-in, with its own unique and, so-far, mostly unexplored history, which itself must be rife with secrets and mysteries. Its people are familiar, yet not caricatures, and I can’t wait to learn more about each and every one of them. Even just two issues in, I’m starting to feel like I have smelled and tasted the same air that these characters are breathing.
In this issue, protagonist Earl Tubb doesn’t quite reach the point of no return, but through a series of events, including one not-too-subtle cosmic coincidence, he begins to realize that fate brought him back to Craw County after more than 40 years of absence for more important reasons than having to chop down the tree growing out of his father’s grave. It’s also in this issue that we first meet Coach Boss, who seems to rule the county with an iron fist, using his football team as a gang of sorts to do his bidding.
I’ve enjoyed a great deal of Jason Aaron’s superhero work in the past, but it’s great to see Jason Aaron writing something that clearly cuts very close to his core. That same kind of personal sensibility is also evident in Jason Latour’s artwork. There’s a scene at the end that’s downright Will Eisner in its depiction of raw, crying-out-to-the-heavens emotion, but Latour and Aaron completely sell it.
Is It Good?
Southern Bastards is one of the best new comics on the stands. Get on board.