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Southern Bastards #6Southern Bastards #6

    Ian Jane

  • Southern Bastards #6

    Southern Bastards #6
    Released by: Image Comics
    Released on: December 10th, 2014.
    Written by: Jason Aaron
    Illustrated by: Jason Latour
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    Writer Jason Aaron and illustrator Jason Latour once again throw us into the past of one Coach Boss with Gridiron Part Two. Boss, the most powerful man in Craw County, Alabama, is in the present day a man in his later years but he was once a boy completely committed to football. The first few pages of this latest issue detail an incident where he stood up to his own coach, a man who saw him as unfit to play, out of sheer determination. The other plays beat him up when the teachers aren't looking, tell him he's trash, just like his old man.

    An old, blind black guy approaches him after his latest shit-kicking, tells him that even if he can't see he knows he's not a good player - but he admires the kids' guts. This guy's name is Ol' Big and he's been around town for God only knows how long. Young Euless goes home to his drunken old dad standing there naked as a jaybird, pistol drawn with a partner in crime banging a hooker in the background. He's kicked out of the mobile home, the fact that it's a school night meaning nothing to the inebriated patriarch of the Boss family. The next day at practice he gets his ass kicked again and Euless winds up begging Ol' Big to help him out. The old man obliges him, again he likes his guts, and he goes about training him his own way using primitive methods… kind of like how Rocky prepared to meet Drago! After a few days, it makes a different to those watching, but not to Euless' teammates, at least not the white ones. The black ones who know he's been training with Ol' Big seem to have a newfound respect for him.

    Back in the present day, Coach Boss is still an asshole, but Ol' Big, he doesn't seem to have changed all that much. But then we flashback to Euless' attempts to tell his dad he made the team, and that's when things get bad.

    The fact that this issue, which is almost entirely about football (at least on a surface level) was interesting to someone who couldn't give half a shit about football, is a testament to what the two Jasons are doing in this series. It's a character development issue to be sure, one that so far has nothing to do with the first four issue arc but which lets us get to know Coach Boss in his younger days and which, we have to assume, will in further issues let us understand why and how he became the criminal that he is in modern times. How or even if any of this will tie into Earl's story remains to be seen, but regardless, it makes for interesting reading.

    As to the art? At the risk of sounding repetitive, Latour's works here continues to impress. His style is still sort of sketchy but the thick inking helps that and there's no shortage of expression and emotion in the way he draws facial reactions to events both positive and horrible. The colors reflect the tone of the story at any given time, just as they have in every issue leading up to this one, and Southern Bastards continues to be a series that fires on all cylinders.

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