• Southern Bastards #17



    Southern Bastards #17
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: August 16th, 2017.
    Writer: Jason Aaron
    Artist: Jason Latour
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    “Coach Boss crossed the line when he attacked an opposing player from Locust Fork before a game. A game that still ended in a tie. Now Boss and his Rebs have got a war on their hands, against Locust Fork’s biggest, shadiest booster, Colonel Quick McKlusky.”

    The issue opens with one of Boss’ thugs, Esaw, shooting up a car and yelling about the tie, how the Rebs have the lead now. That car is on a car carrier flatbed and this gang intends to destroy everything on that truck, including the driver. The truck belongs to McKlusky and that driver takes a real shit kicking.

    The next day, on the field, Kalil is missing and Boss is none too happy that he’s without his starter. Seems he cut his hand the night before and needed some stitches. Another player is limping. McKlsuky may have taken a financial hit from the damage done to the cars but the Rebs have a game coming up. and then the field house catches fire. Boss heads into the blaze because his trophies are in there. Edaw tries to stop him, but he never listens to Esaw, who would? The blaze is too strong though, and Boss has no choice but to walk back out.

    On the outskirts of town, the Sheriff Hardy pulls Julie over. He tells her he heard from Leddy that she was the one who tried to pull him into the mess with Boss. They talk a bit, and then we see the Sheriff meet boss at the cemetery, standing at Coach Big’s grave. Boss’ hands are burned up pretty bad from the fire. The two men talk about things, the Sheriff takes a sip from his flask, there’s some judgement going on here but Boss knows what Hardy’s done, if he goes down they both go down. Boss wants Hardy’s help with McKlusky, but he’s not going to get it.

    That night there’s a shootout, the Locust Fork boys chasing some Rebs down the freeway, guns blazing in the dark. Then Esaw, behind the wheel, gets a call to stand down. The Locust Fork boys as well. It seems Boss and McKlusky have had a meeting, a talk about reparations…

    It’s been a while since the last issue of Southern Bastards but this one was worth the wait. Hell, every issue of this series is worth the wait, it’s been gold since the first issue, a southern fried crime story of small town shenanigans and fanatical football types. It’s the kind of story that, on paper at least, shouldn’t work half as well as it does. If this isn’t necessarily a good jumping on point for new readers, for those who have stuck with it for a while it’s a rewarding read, one that answers some questions from past issues and sets up big new questions yet to come. Jason Aaron’s script is hardboiled without being overdone and his characters, no matter how tough or how sinister, are always refreshingly human. Jason Latour’s artwork is moody, evocative and distinct. You won’t confuse his style with anyone else working in comics right now, but it suits the story perfectly.

    This is a great comic. It’s been a great comic for a while and it continues to be a great comic. No matter who you are, you should be reading Southern Bastards.

    In the back pages is a touching piece from Jason Latour who talks about losing his father, how that affected the book’s schedule and how his father in a roundabout way inspired Earl Tubb. He dedicates the issue to him and then goes on to write about him a bit. It’s a really nice, thoughtful and sensitive piece. Take the time to read it, you won’t regret.