By Jason Aaron & Jason Latour
Jason Latour’s stunning cover is only the tip of the iceberg in this latest installment in the “Gridiron” arc of Southern Bastards. Euless Boss, coping with an injured foot and deadbeat father, fights to find his worth in Craw County football. Under the tutelage of his Stick-esque mentor Big, he becomes a defensive force to be reckoned with…or so he thinks.
Devoting what is looking to be an entire story arc to make the primary antagonist a sympathetic character is a bold move. Yet, Jason Aaron is making Boss more interesting than Earl Tubb. Perhaps it’s due to his “hero’s journey” story that Aaron is crafting, but this issue shifts things up. By doing this, he breaks one of this narrative’s conventions and makes the book into an even more fascinating read. Also, his use of irony in the end of the issue allows for a great twist.
Latour continues to implement elements of the grotesque and grittiness, which works perfectly for the current tale. Boss is considered trash and is forced to live as such, despite all this, through his own blood and sweat; he attempts to rise above it. His use of the color red forces readers to be engaged in the intense imagery, most notably when Euless is tackling opposing players or his red jersey against muted panels. The execution of this motif is very effective.
It’s almost torture waiting a month for each new issue. What Aaron and Latour are doing with this title is amazing. It’s still surprising how a comic about Southern culture and generalizations is being published, but it works. Actually it’s better than that, it exceeds expectations. Newcomers should pick up the first trade and catch up!