Review: Briggs Land #6
You have probably heard by now that AMC has optioned Briggs Land to be a show, and Briggs Land #6 and the issues before it show us why. It isn’t just the great slow burn and pressure cooker storytelling by Brian Wood, or the deeply flawed yet very real characters drawn by Mack Chatter. Though both of these creators along with Lee Loughridge on colors and Tula Lotay on cover art do great jobs at building the world and characters of Briggs Land, it’s something more. To me, each comic feels like an episode of television, or at least smaller episodes, with really powerful scenes. It is effective, and you can already see why it would work on television.
You can feel the tension in this issue, and all of the moving parts being set into place. You constantly have this feeling that things are going to get very ugly, very soon, and the series has certainly given us a few moments, but you just feel like something much worse is coming, and it almost feels like it will in an issue that will feel like it is written for a season finale. Comic books have always been an excellent source of serial storytelling, complete with cliffhangers at the end of an issue. We’ve seen that going all the way back to the oldest detective and superhero comics, as well as radio shows. But Briggs Land doesn’t feel like it has cheap cliffhangers. Instead, it feels like solid episodic storytelling. The issues flow together, much like a season of television, and it works well.
While I have talked about television, I don’t want to lose sight of what this review is about, a great comic book. Grace is pulling a lot of strings, and this issue didn’t do a lot to show me who she really is, besides a very smart survivor. We are given someone who is seemingly our hero, and the communities new leader, but like every leader, she has to do some things she isn’t proud of. Now we aren’t talking full Walter White quite yet, but it is familiar territory to that of Breaking Bad. How much does she know that her white supremacist son, Caleb is doing, and how okay is she with it? Is she willing to turn a blind eye to things that she needs to get what she needs? Perhaps, at least for now, but there is a reason for everything. We have already seen her help out a young woman earlier in the book, and protect her community at all costs. Only time will tell, but compared to the other members of this family, outside of her youngest son maybe, Grace seems like a saint.
Speaking of Caleb, that is a scary character. We have seen him mostly calm, but that is what is scary. The way Mack Chatter draws the swastika tattoo just under his tank top gives me chills. You don’t need to always see it, you know it’s there. It’s almost metaphorical and reminds us that not everyone is as they seem in the world. We have seen a little what he is capable of, and he reminds me of the villain from No Country for Old Men played by Javier Bardem. He doesn’t lose control much, but he is so focused and so menacing, and Caleb appears to be cut of a similar cloth, even if he has not gone off the deep end fully yet. Well, there is the bit with how he acquired the hardware store, so we have seen some of that side of him, but I still expect his full potential to be far worse.
This is a great series, and it feels like it has it’s pulse to the real world right now. We are six issues in, and a few into the second arc, and Julianne Moore (she looks just like her!), I mean Grace Briggs has been seen meddling with ATF agents, her own sons, and more. What is her full plan? What will happen after the conversation she has with her lawyer on the final page? As she says, this has to work, swear to god… because there will be repercussions. Sorry Grace, but I cannot wait to see what those repercussions are!
Story: Brian Wood Art: Mack Chatter Color: Lee Loughridge Cover: Tula Lotay
Story: 8.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy
Dark Horse provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review