Review: Southern Bastards #6

“You ever stop climbing… all that’s left to do is fall,” Coach Boss says in Southern Bastards #6. His football team is so good that it’s almost certainly too big to fail, but that doesn’t stop him from seeing a single loss as anything other than a catastrophe. Hell, he has successfully scared the entire town into giving him free passes on law breaking, and he still worries himself into intense fear of weakness. This intense paranoia makes for a fascinating character, and an explanation for how he ticks makes this latest issue more than a captivating read. Plot from Jason Aaron that never pulls any punches and art from Jason Latour that brutally carries every beat assure the amazing quality of this comic book.

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The pacing of this comic is what is truly exceptional about it. The story just always progresses, without any amount of fluff or stutter. Every panel of Southern Bastards #6 is important. The stakes manage to successively get higher and higher, the violence more ridiculous and uncomfortable. Each page of this flashback-driven comic brings one closer to a fuller understanding of the reprehensible Boss; by the end, you just may feel bad for the guy.

Jason Latour’s art is absolutely essential to the effectiveness of this story. The flashbacks in this issue are the most intense sequences of this series thus far, made even more visceral by the reddish tint that adds an additional sense of dread. All of the sleazy sex and all of the grotesque violence really does look the part; at times this comic is downright nasty. Thankfully, it’s nasty in a way that really impresses.

Behind all of the fresh and attention-grabbing aesthetic and flow is a story that feels classic. The relationship here between young Boss and his trainer is almost ripped straight out of The Karate Kid. The story here is something we’re all familiar with, with its kid in a bad home who wants to look himself in the mirror and like what he sees. He doesn’t want to see a schmuck covered in bruises and cuts from the physically-exerted disapproval of his father and submissiveness to his peers, he wants to see a good-looking man with a sense of power and dignity.

There’s something immensely satisfying to this comic’s simple approach to plot. I guess that’s how they do it in the South.

Story: Jason Aaron Art: Jason Latour
Story: 9.25 Art: 9.25 Overall: 9.25 Recommendation: Buy

Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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