Disclaimer: If you have never read Jason Aaron & Jason Latour’s Southern Bastards, there is something missing inside your soul. Stop whatever you’re doing, and scoop up all three trade paperbacks. This comic rules, and there’s no reason you should not be reading it. Now, let’s get into it!
Southern Bastards Vol. 3: Homecoming offers a very different experience than the previous two trades. Instead of one linear story arc spanning several issues, each chapter here focuses on a different resident of Craw County, digging deep into the psyche of some secondary characters and exploring the intricate web of crime, cultural dissonance, and divisive obsessions that fester within a small town. This volume is a beautiful phantasmagoria of hope, hate, revenge, and redemption.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve lived in the south all my life (I have met people like Coach Boss and Esaw Goings) but there is an authenticity to this comic that I have never seen before. The bleak tone and the horrors of the darker side to southern hospitality bleed through on each panel. There is a haunting and genuine savagery here that drives home the fact that this comic is created by men who have been to these dark corners. They clearly understand the culture and know how to portray it in a humanistic manner, while rubbing its nose in its own disgusting failings.
What makes this trade stand out is that is seems to be the culmination of everything that has come before it. We now know who the players of this series are. We understand their motivations and where this series is headed is becoming more defined…or maybe it isn’t. Southern Bastards has a knack for tripping its readers up. Just when you think you know where things are going, Aaron and Latour pull the rug right out from under you.
Jason Aaron is one of my favorite writers. His handle on realistic dialogue and slang is only rivalled by someone like Brian Azzarello. Aaron’s Scalped is one my favorite comics of the last ten years, but at the rate Southern Bastards is going, it may have some competition. As much as I love Aaron’s writing, it was nice to see series artist, Jason Latour get a script in this volume. His writing on Spider-Gwen is great, and I would like to see more issues of Bastards penned by him.
Latour’s artwork is also great as usual. His sketchy pencils and sparse line work add a certain grit to each panel that make you almost smell the deep fried, humid as hell, world of Southern Bastards. Chris Bunner’s guest spot is also great. His work fits right in and never made me want to pump the brakes while reading this issue.
There’s nothing like Southern Bastards being published in comics right now (honestly, the only thing I can think to compare it to might be the literary work of Donald Ray Pollock). This series is brutal, haunting, and honest. And unless you’re squeamish or want to bury your head in the sand when it comes to facing ugly and archaic social realisms in the Deep South, I cannot recommend this series enough.
- Genuine and haunting writing
- Great character explorations with a rich world being fully realized
- Fantastic artwork