SOUTHERN BASTARDS stirs up emotions; emotions you didn't know you had, emotions that connect you to someone else's experiences. It's powerful and character-driven, and there's something about that last page that's just a gut-punch, even if you, as a reader, can't directly relate. I'm not Earl Tubb, and neither are you, but I'll bet pretty soundly that you and I would both pick up that stick and settle some scores.
Aaron and Latour have hit an incredible pace already, with the first two issues unfolding just slowly enough to let us savor the little details, but with enough force that we can tell the story would keep on going without us. There's a great synergy between these two creators (and the rest of the team, Southern-ness or bastard-ness nothwithstanding -- it's nice to hear from Jared Fletcher and Sebastian Girner in the backmatter, because they're also knocking it out on this book), and everything comes together on the page just right.
The last page is a helluva punctuation mark, and I love the way we're getting the "one last job" story in a different set of clothes. It's not just the Southern styling -- though that helps -- but also the entrenched county corruption and the pervasive effect it has on the characters that makes SOUTHERN BASTARDS so interesting and immersive. Even the Tubbs are affected, in their own way, and there's something enjoyable about how rotten things are in Craw County.
No complaints; I just want the next issue, please.
Image books tend to be a go-to when readers are looking for books that "aren't like anything else," but SOUTHERN BASTARDS is so fresh and fascinating that it even breaks Image's usual model. It's well-crafted, unapologetic, and tells a story that feels simultaneously familiar and strange. Family drama, corruption, murder, and revenge aren't new to comics, but the way they're packaged here most definitely is.