It’s time for another deep fried serving of Southern Bastards with the release of #3. While slow, I have enjoyed the past two issues and I am genuinely excited to see what happens with the next issue. Now that it is here, let’s see what we got. Is it good?
Southern Bastards #3 (Image Comics)
Earl Tubb is mad as hell and he’s not going to take it anymore! Using a stick similar to his father, he decides to take justice into his own hands and goes to town on Esaw and his friend. Of course, one violent deed goes hand in hand with another as things get nastier…
I’d be more intimidated by you if you didn’t have that adorable bear shirt on.
I am a huge fan of writer Jason Aaron’s previous work, Scalped. Aaron has an eye for making great, complex characters, a great setting with rich history, engaging dialogue, and memorable scenes that still stick with me. This far in, Bastards definitely retains a lot of that. The setting of the story, taking place in Craw County, Alabama, feels very much real. You feel the culture of it in the way the citizens act and talk, the locations and commotion around there, and the lifestyles and interests that its citizens have. It feels much more alive than most comics this far into their series.
With Earl, you a great idea of his character and what he is like, shaped by his desire to leave his past behind and being drawn back into it just as quickly. It’s a bit blunt about it, to the point where it may feel like it’s beating it into you, but regardless it works and he feels more real. The rest of the cast isn’t really fleshed out or has any complexity to them for why they are the way they are, but that’s probably intentional this early in and is probably a mystery in some fashion. The dialogue itself is really good, having a lot of real humanity and personality in it. I can almost hear real people say these lines or talk like this to others in the comic. You come to like and hate a lot of the people because of that personality and almost real way people speak.
I will never get your stupid red skies and filter over the entire place.
The only real downside with the writing here is something that the series also has in common with Scalped: its pacing and speed. Its slow approach is deliberate and it works mind you, allowing for good moments and characterization from everyone. However, if you are the kind of person who likes their stories quicker paced and getting to the point a bit sooner rather than later, this may not be the kind of book for you in a monthly (sort of monthly) release schedule. Best to wait for the trade if that’s the case.
The artwork is by Jason Latour and this is an area where I’m also reminded of Scalped. Not in the sense that they have the same art styles, since they really don’t at all. In the sense where I started off not being a real fan of it (not my particular style), but it ends up growing on me since it really fits the story, the characters, the tone, and the setting so well. Latour’s work really shines here, capturing all of that and the real grittiness of the story. The rough line work used to depict the characters and the world and the color scheme really bring this book to life.
Is It Good?
Southern Bastards #3 is a gritty, full of personality issue. It’s slow moving, but in the grand scheme of things, that barely matters for a comic like this. The writing is so good on almost every level and the artwork only adds to that. Just a really good comic that I’m excited to see how it’ll end its first arc next time.