By Jason Aaron & Jason Latour
Southern Bastards is a fantastic example of a comic with a simple premise, but high concept and excellent execution. This first arc has chronicled the ruggedly aged Earl Tubb as he returns to his southern roots to close that chapter of his life and his deceased, estranged father. He inevitably becomes swept up in the shady underbelly of his hometown and assumes the role of the man he despised so much.
This series gives new meaning to the phrase popularized by Teddy Roosevelt, “Speak softly and carry a big stick”! Jason Aaron and Jason Latour have been framing this narrative as a western set in the South and it works beautifully. They take the conventions of the genre and blend it with the accents of southern tropes and stereotypes. Seeing a troubled man come to terms with his identity and attempt to be a hero is the classic journey, but pitting him against the town’s most powerful villain, a football couch, is just a stroke of fictional genius.
Seeing Coach Boss and Earl finally meet face-to-face is the epic final quick draw showdown readers have been waiting for. Latour breaks down part of the confrontation into two pages with 12 panels on each. It is uncommon execution, which works perfectly for the material. Also, he continues his welcomed use of a warm palette to emphasize the dry, dead atmosphere of the South and, again, equate to the story to a western.
Writers such as Mark Twain wrote of a romanticized South suffused with hyperbole, while others emphasized the grotesqueness of the South. Aaron and Latour capture both schools of literature masterfully in Southern Bastards. This issue is a bombshell, so it is absolutely worth the purchase and if you haven’t picked up the previous three…DO IT!!
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