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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Southern Bastards #11

 
Southern Bastards 11 cover
Southern Bastards 11 cover
Southern Bastards 11 cover

 
Overview
 

Story by: Jason Aaron
 
Art by: Jason Latour
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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Raves


New character; great stand-alone issue; Jason Aaron’s eloquence; Jason Latour’s country paintings; featured recipe: ISAW!!

Rants


Sensitive types may be offended; graphic and disturbing scenes


To sum it all up..

CRAW COUNTY’S SERAPHIM Southerners artistic-tandem extraordinaire Jason Aaron and Jason Latour craft another gripping and deliciously lathered barbeque cooked Southern Bastards #11 that fulfills our never-ending appetite of anything the proud American South can offer, warts and all. Not only this chapter can be read autonomously (but still integral to the overall third story arc, similar […]

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Posted October 15, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Southern Bastards 11 cover

CRAW COUNTY’S SERAPHIM

Southerners artistic-tandem extraordinaire Jason Aaron and Jason Latour craft another gripping and deliciously lathered barbeque cooked Southern Bastards #11 that fulfills our never-ending appetite of anything the proud American South can offer, warts and all. Not only this chapter can be read autonomously (but still integral to the overall third story arc, similar to Jason Aaron’s narrative style of interconnecting small and seemingly independent stories into the grand narrative he envisions), it introduces a new character that can either influence the future direction of this blood-soaked series and/or reinforce the old adage that not everything or everyone embraces or encapsulates anything or anyone at all. In other words, we are witnessing the emergence of a dark horse right here, right now. Jason Aaron opens the chapter with a simple logic premise but finishes with definitive concluding remark that there is someone or something that separates the rest of the society, particularly the prevailing zeitgeist or the dominating currents of our lives. The creative team presents this deviant as DEACON BOONE.

Southern Bastards #11 immediately presents the new character in a mixture of religiosity, familial historical pride, and the terrifying notification that this one is no pushover, a potentiality wild card in the future installment, alongside with Earl Tubb’s homecoming battle-tested daughter. In true Southern fashion, religion plays a significant role in the molding and characterization of many American southerners, and the writer lathers plenty of religious verses from the Bible, homilies and sermons of an evangelist, and the actual application of snakes (representing “serpents”, a derogatory term for these misunderstood slithering beasts). Jason Aaron presents the complex personal history of a borderline fundamentalist-religious fellow, whose love and passion with the natural surroundings or the “country” is only matched with the presence of the series’ most Machiavellian operator ever, Coach Boss. Right here already, we can feel the dichotomy of these polarizing and contrasting alpha males. The football coach commands, while Boone fervors his brand of freedom and individuality. Boss rules, while the preacher, well, preaches. Football is both life and religion for the county, but Boone is the true absolute exception and he embraces the “country” no matter what. Yet, the contradictions end as the story progresses and the reality of dominance sets in which Jason Aaron maximizes this to greater effect to the inner conundrum of the said hunter/preacher/true-country boy. As eloquently mentioned in the final pages that encapsulate Aaron’s vast knowledge of the Holy Scripture (note: he’s an atheist right now), fusing with the challenges of the realities of internal political power structure, the writer, through Boone’s thought balloons, acknowledges the existence of the ambiguous and unpalatable term, compromise, particularly with the “serpent”. More specifically, we can glimpse and even reinforce our, well, notion, that many religious Americans as represented in this character alone believe more on the beliefs from the Old Testament, which critics pinpoint the so-called “anger management” issues the Supreme Being possesses and the Biblical notion of justice of an eye for an eye, unlike the New Testament-Jesus Christ’s message of love, non-violence and forgiveness. Issue eleven reads an interesting chapter of whatever Jason Aaron’s Bible or sort of in the visual narrative.

And there’s another better half, Jason Latour whose art transcends significantly to illustrate the beauty of the country the new character lives, cherishes, protects, and defends for. From the first page where one can feel the blood of the fallen and hunted deer, up to the end splash illustration that definitely puts the nails on the coffin, the illustrator never fails to disappoint, and worth the wait. His illustrations of the issue’s main character’s face is the signifiers of the deep-rootedness Boone possesses with the country and the beliefs, never laughs nor even smiles (just yet, who knows) but nevertheless determined, passionate, grounded and dedicated to his core beliefs, at the same time, reeking with the perennial contradiction he really disgusts. Latour’s illustrations extend beyond the writer’s dialogues and scripts to the point that the former can actually tell the story in itself, with the latter actually feels like a bit periphery if taken out of the usual storytelling paradigm. Just look on the landscapes Latour paints and the horrifying site for the damned and the punished which the artist devotes for a single page. Even without the writer’s words, Latour’s art tastes better already. Latour also colors and inks his own illustrations, and that’s the greatest thing for he dictates what are the ambiance and the feel of the “country” should be, as what is a true Southerner knows already.

Sure, contradictions abound here. A man of faith, yet Boone delivers justice as brutally as possible. He works to no one but his messiah, but he is actually working with the crime lord himself. He loves country and uses traditional or old-time stuffs, though his bow and arrow are drawn as sophisticated as ever. He advocates peace and decency, but ultimately, applies deadly force and violent means if he “hears” the voice of the All-Mighty. And the creative team of Southern Bastards presents this obvious paradox as humanely as possible. And, graphic illustrations of brutality and gore are staple foods here, though no intimate moments this time around, to which I say, a great Southern Jason visual literary recipe! For obvious reasons, religious types may find this one, well, subversive.

Southern Bastards #11 delivers significantly and proves that the two Jason’s are capable of presenting a highly complicated character despite the obvious religious exteriorities. It is true that religion can indeed influence one’s direction, but sometimes, it clashes with harsh realities of life, as this chapter illuminates clearly. If the last page is the indicator, then readers can be assured that Deacon Boone is the force to be reckoned with.

 

 


Paul Ramos

 


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