Jason Aaron just blew my mind.
Today is June 6th. I keep a little spreadsheet of all of the books I've read, and I rate each book on a scale of 0 (Terrible) to 10 (Perfect). Until today, 2015 has not had one book rate a perfect 10.
Until I just put down SOUTHERN BASTARDS, VOLUME 1: HERE WAS A MAN.
Writer Jason Aaron and artist Jason Latour have crafted a pitch-perfect southern noir that combines everything you love about the "Lone honest man stands up to the corrupt, lawless town" genre, adds in some new stuff, and turns all of your expectations on their head. I love when I close a book feeling like I've just been mugged, and that was exactly the feeling I had here when I turned the last page. Thank goodness I already have Volume 2, so I can dig into it right away.
Aaron's story finds Viet Nam vet Earl Tubb, son of legendary lawman Bertrand Tubb, returning to his hometown of Craw County for the first time in four decades. What is supposed to be a brief stop to pack up the now-empty family home stretches on a little longer than Earl had planned, when he gets insinuates himself into a brutal assault on an old schoolmate, running afoul of local crime criminal/High School Football Coach Euless Boss, a man who, quite literally, runs Craw County. When Earl is practically gifted by God with his father's old peacekeeping stick, in a scene that is evokes a southern-fried issue of THOR, he decides that he owes it to his old man and the good citizens of Craw County, if there are any, to stick around and try to bring some order to the corrupt town.
As you can imagine, it won't be easy.
This is one of those books that you need to experience for yourself, without anyone spoiling any of the twists and turns that Aaron's story takes. This is a staggeringly good read, perfectly complimented by Jason Latour's beautifully grimy artwork. Fans of crime/noir in particular, and fans of plain old excellent reading material in general will find a lot to enjoy here. Highly recommended.
SOUTHERN BASTARDS, VOLUME 1: HERE WAS A MAN collects SOUTHERN BASTARDS #'s 1-4, complete with all covers and variants, a small Jason Latour art gallery, and a delicious-looking recipe for Fried Apple Pie, courtesy of Jason Aaron's mother, Betty. And it's all $9.99. You have no excuse. Go. Read. Tell me how much you loved it.