Sunday, April 9, 2017

Southern Bastards, Volume 3: Homecoming

 Jason Aaron's southern crime epic is back for a third bone-breaking volume....is it worth the wait?

 Oh, hell yeah.

 The cover of SOUTHERN BASTARDS, VOLUME 3: HOMECOMING is a bit of a bait-and-switch, since the scene it implies is nowhere to be found in this volume. I've been waiting for Roberta Tubb to arrive in Craw County since I started reading this book nearly two years ago. This volume brings us a bit closer to that happening, but we're not quite there yet.

 What we do get in this book, which collects SOUTHERN BASTARDS #'s 9-14, are six vignettes that give us insight into various bit players in the series, while advancing the overall storyline. We even get artist Jason Latour writing an issue (with Chris Brunner ably taking up the artistic reins) featuring slow-witted second-banana-thug "Materhead".

 Writer Jason Aaron has managed to bring a righteousness and dignity to almost all of the characters in this book, both good and bad, and this volume is no exception. Seemingly unrepentant scumbags are given finely-drawn nuances that force readers to reevaluate their preconceived notions about them, and even the folks who may turn out to be on the side of the angels are revealed to be flawed and weak.

 My only complaint about this book, the same beef that I have about MOST collected editions, is that there are no "Story so far" pages to get readers either up to speed, of back up to speed.....most creator-owned comics come out so infrequently that I completely lose track of who is who and what is what in between volumes. Case in point: PRETTY DEADLY, whose first volume I enjoyed very much. The wait between volumes was so long that I not only forgot what happened in the first collection, I forgot WHAT THE SERIES WAS ABOUT. True, I remember enjoying the first volume, but apparently I didn't enjoy it enough to remember a thing about it, or to want to pick up the second volume. If I knew a recap page was included, to GET ME BACK UP TO SPEED, I probably would have purchased the second volume. SOUTHERN BASTARDS, both in story and in its characters, has made enough of an impression on me that I remember what is going on, even though it's been nearly two years since I read the last volume. There's going to be a wait between the third and fourth volume of over a year...is everyone reading this book going to remember the plot and all of the players by the time September 2017 rolls around? I read  JUPITER'S CIRCLE, BOOK ONE a few days ago, and (Again!) I remember reading JUPITER'S LEGACY a while back, but I have no idea what the overall story was, or any real memory of who the fuck the characters were, and writer Mark Millar didn't do sweet fuck-all to make this prequel book at all accessible......no recap, no origin story, no CODE-NAMES...real names were used, instead. While I was able to follow the book, I couldn't tell you who was who and what their names were, and the art made most of the characters look alike. Give me a fucking text page with the fucking story so far......it's definitely in your best interests, creators.

  SOUTHERN BASTARDS, VOLUME 3: HOMECOMING collects all covers and variants, and includes a few sketch pages, as well as an essay by Jason Latour on the confederate flag.

 SOUTHERN BASTARDS, VOLUME 3: HOMECOMING earns nine out of ten devil heads:
😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈😈