It’s time to begin the next arc of Southern Bastards, moving away from the flashbacks of Coach Boss and back into the modern day setting of Craw County. Is it good?
Southern Bastards #9 (Image Comics)
From what I can tell looking at the solicits for this and the upcoming issues, this arc will be all about some of the various individuals that live in Craw County as the big Homecoming Week game between the Runnin’ Rebs and their arch-rivals from Wetumptka County takes place. For this issue, we turn to Sheriff Hardy. We find out what kind of person he is, how he got into the position he did, and how he has been doing after the recent deaths in the series. We see his interactions with others characters as well as small flashbacks that really allow you understand his character. As a character piece, Southern Bastard #9 is an incredibly strong issue that really humanizes this character who has mostly been popping up for small bit parts throughout the comic. Sure, I would like it if Jason Aaron got on with the story, but this will certainly do for now.
Aaron’s writing on the book is wonderful. While admittedly, the narration was a bit overdone on the first page (looks like something you might see Snyder or Hickman do, but with more human emotion), the dialogue and narration is terrific. It really adds to each character and their relationships with one another while being engaging to read to boot. The pacing is good and despite there being quite a few different scenes in the book, there’s never a poor or awkward transition or cut that feels abrupt. The characterization is fantastic and even those not focused on that much do have these small moments that can say so much about them. Still easily one of the best series Image has when it comes to its writing.
The artwork by Jason Latour needs really no explaining at this point. His work here continues to be terrific from start to finish. The characters look good (though maybe a bit too rough in areas where it impacts the facial expressions), the layouts are constructed and built well, the coloring is grimy but very fitting, and all the rough around edges also fit the tone and style of the book. The only thing that felt lacking about the artwork is some of the bland and empty void backgrounds that show up from time to time. Otherwise, just another fantastic issue and that’s all there is to it.
Is It Good?
Southern Bastards #9 is an issue of series that’s not heavy on the story, but on the internal character drama. We spend time with Sheriff Hardy and get to learn more about him, harkening back to similar issues we saw back in Aaron’s other series Scalped. It’s not the most exciting or thrilling way to begin a new arc, but the quality of the writing and characterization more than make up for it. I excitedly look forward to whatever comes next.