Warning: if you aren’t yet caught up on Southern Bastards you may want to do so before reading on, there are some spoilers from early in the series ahead. (Seriously, though, if you’re not caught up on this book do yourself a favor and go read them all RIGHT NOW!)
Jason Aaron (Scalped, Doctor Strange) and Jason Latour (The Expatriate, Spider-Gwen) announced their book Southern Bastards back at the Image Expo in July of 2013 to much excitement. Up until this point Aaron had been tied to Marvel in an exclusive contract, and the idea of him returning to the world of creator owned content was something to look forward to. After all, this is the man responsible for Scalped, one of the best crime stories to come out of the last decade. Soon after, we were treated with a book that not only lived up to the expectations set forth by Scalped, but actually surpassed it in every way.
If you have been following Southern Bastards at all you probably know that at the end of the initial story arc two things happened: the main protagonist Earl Tubbs is murdered by Coach Boss, and we are briefly introduced (via final page reveal) to Earl’s daughter Roberta, a marine stationed in Afghanistan. The following story arcs focused primarily on backstory for the remaining characters, as well as a few new characters introduced along the way, but we never found out what happened with Roberta.
Well this is it. The long awaited return of Roberta Tubbs, she is back from war and ready to kick some ass.
This issue serves as an introduction to Roberta as a main player, highlighting her background and her immediate conflicts with racist neighbors and (also racist) local law enforcement upon returning to Earl’s house. Did I mention she is half black? It tends to make the racist stuff really stand out. As well as an introduction to this amazing character, the issue appears to kick start what I’m guessing will be the apex of the series with an ending that will leave you yearning to find out what happens next.
Jason Aaron’s writing is stellar, and he continues to prove to us that he is one of the best in the industry, especially where his creator owned content is concerned. With writing like this it’s no wonder the book was optioned by FX for a television show last year. As for the art, I recognize that Latour has a very specific style that may not be for everyone, but I honestly can’t think of a more appropriate story for his art to tell. His gritty style accents Aaron’s writing so well it’s hard to imagine any other artist drawing this book as well as Latour. Both story and art land a solid 5 out of 5.
If you are already following Southern Bastards you know that it is a book that puts you at the edge of your seat and keeps you there for the remainder, with each issue leaving you dying to know what comes next, and #14 is no exception. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading Southern Bastards you could start with this one, but really you owe it to yourself to start from the beginning and just plow through until you’re caught up. You will not be sorry. Overall this book gets a very deserving 5 out of 5.