SOUTHERN BASTARDS hits stands on April 30th.
Jason Aaron and Jason LaTour serve up a brand-new Image #1 with SOUTHERN BASTARDS, a down-home slice of old wounds, brutal violence, and the kind of grudges only Southerners can hold. It's a love letter to the rougher side of the South, tinged with just the right amount of spite and just the right amount of respect.
We're brought into the story by way of a moving truck, carrying with it one Earl Tubb and a load of emotional baggage. Tubb's father -- whose gravestone reads quite plainly, "Here was a man" -- was a tall-walking brute of a lawman, complete with legendary one-man-versus-a-gang story, and Tubb himself hasn't been around town for forty years. We're not quite sure yet why he left or what the town grew into in his absence, but the hints we've gotten about the folks of Craw County suggest that there's a hell of a story for us to drink in.
LaTour choreographs rough, teeth-splitting violence with a precision that's downright creepy. Every hit is utterly brutal, but his panels play out like a dance, snapshots of gut shots spliced with axe-cracks and dog barks. And in the calmer scenes, LaTour immerses us in a grimy little town populated by a host of unsavory (or unsatisfied) folks. Every last detail -- from the mixed collection of church and football signs to Bertrand Tubb's evocatively simple headstone to the checkered tablecloths and sweet tea -- is a perfect tone-setter.
I'm hooked. I'm into this place. I don't want to live there, but I sure do want to see how things play out with Earl and Boss.
Nothing to complain about, except that now I have a hankering for fried pie, and I didn't even know that fried pie was a thing until I read this. Thanks a lot, fellas.
Grit, grizzle, and Dixie justice make SOUTHERN BASTARDS the next book you'll be lining up for seconds of. Its debut is a well-crafted blend of groundwork-laying, pawn-setting, and good old-fashioned violence. Aaron and LaTour spin up a setting that's remarkably different from anything else on stands, and they do it with impeccable attention to tone and detail. And sweet tea.