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Death of Wolverine, The Names and God Hates Astronauts: Comics Collection September 4th, 2014

Stew Shearer | 4 Sep 2014 20:00
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southern bastards 4

Southern Bastards #4

I've never been to any of the small Alabama communities that Southern Bastards is inspired by, but if Jason Aaron and Jason Latour are being honest, they aren't always pleasant places. Reading the first story arc of Southern Bastards felt like being punched in the gut for every issue. A snarling, mangy dog is a recurring image across the series. Behind its sports trophies and charming waitresses is an ugliness that permeates every page. Yet despite that ugliness, Southern Bastards is a deeply compelling read, taking the complexities of Jason Aaron's Scalped and applying it to something more personal: a fictionalized version of where he grew up. And with Issue #4 concluding the first storyline, I want to take more of these gut punches to see what happens next.

Southern Bastards first story arc followed Earl Tubb, the only person seeking justice for a murdered friend in his hometown. In this issue, his struggle finally comes to a head as he faces Coach Boss, the ruthless town leader, in a showdown similar to High Noon in a Western. But this isn't the Wild West, and these townsfolk aren't cowering in their homes; they've come into the streets to watch a fight, and none of them are on Earl's side. A fan letter published back in Issue #2 summed it up by describing "the people who will help you change your tire on the side of the road, but beat you nearly to death if you follow the wrong football team". That's the real ugliness behind Southern Bastards' opening storyline, and it's what makes Earl's struggles and small victories so powerful and heartwrenching.

Also, stick around for the epilogue; it might feel like a final twist of the knife, but it also has big implications for where Southern Bastards is headed. But if you're like me, you'd probably decided to crawl back well before that.

Favorite Moment: "That's some stick. But carrying that stick don't make you your Daddy."

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