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Southern Bastards #14

Previously: Southern Bastards #13

After three and a half months, due to various delays, Southern Bastards came back to give us the finale to its “Homecoming” arc, and boy did Jasons Aaron and Latour deliver with one of their most visceral issues yet.

Southern Bastards #14 | Cover

Following in the trend set by several other issues in this story arc, Southern Bastards #14 focuses entirely on one character, and she is awesome. We finally get to spend more than a moment or two with Roberta Tubb, Earl’s daughter with whom he spent much of the first arc (“Here Was a Man”) leaving messages for on the telephone.

Right off the bat, I love this issue. LOVE. Yes, I just went all caps, but it was worth it. All the way back in the series’ first issue–two years ago–we watched as a sad, old man returned to his childhood home to clean it out after his father had died. That action kicked the entire series into motion. Now, that man, Earl Tubb, is dead. Here, we watch his daughter come home to get his affairs in order. As the issue plays out, you’re not only learning more about Roberta, but you’re also learning more about Earl, a character who died several issues ago, through her and through seeing where and how he lived; remember, that’s not something we had ever seen before now. We’ve only seen Earl in Craw County. There’s something so heartening about seeing Earl through his daughter’s eyes; you really feel her memories, especially in how well Jason Latour illustrates them–as always.

Southern Bastards #14 | Boots on the ground.

Roberta Tubb is also a black woman, and so she is forced to deal with not only individual racism but also a hefty dose of systemic racism. She isn’t back in Alabama long before she’s being questioned by the police for some bullshit, and I love that she says exactly that. I try to avoid that kind of specificity in reviews, but that’s such a good way to show readers the kind of character she is going to be that I have to commend it.

She is her father’s daughter, a point that is subtly–and, at times, overtly–made throughout these pages. The differences between them, and there aren’t many, is that she is not sad, and she is not old. Roberta Tubb is pissed off, and everyone in Craw County better watch out because that’s where she’s going next.

Southern Bastards #14 | Save it.

Speaking of next, Southern Bastards is taking a few months off–which is expected, since this is the arc finale–and will return with the next arc “Gut Check”. I am looking forward to seeing Roberta Tubb kick so much ass. I almost need it now.


Midnight of the Soul #1 | CoverFinally, along with the usual letters section–where readers’ thoughts come with a side order of yet another interesting recipe–we are treated to a sneak preview of Midnight of the Soul #1 by Howard Chaykin. Ignoring the harlequin romance novel title, the preview is intriguing, and the art is fantastic.

  • It’s 1950, and Joel Breakstone, former GI and liberator of Auschwitz, is seriously damaged goods. He hasn’t exhaled a sober breath in five years—until the sheltered life he’s created for himself unravels and he begins the long night that will change his life forever.

Chaykin is, of course, a veteran artist who often also writes the material he is illustrating, as is the case here. Midnight of the Soul #1 will be released June 8, 2016.

Southern Bastards #14
  • 10/10
    Plot - 10/10
  • 10/10
    Art - 10/10
  • 9/10
    Dialogue - 9/10
  • 8.5/10
    Back Matter (Letters section, additional material, etc.) - 8.5/10
9.4/10

Summary

The proper introduction to Roberta Tubb brings several allusions to the memory of her father, Earl, and a reminder that she is her father’s daughter. As usual Jason Aaron’s dialogue marries incredibly well to Jason Latour’s artwork, with Latour’s artwork taking a step even further with its ability to evoke voluntary and involuntary feelings.

The sneak preview of Howard Chaykin’s Midnight of the Soul helps bulk the back matter a bit, but it does take away some space that is usually used for more material from the talented team of Jasons.

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About John Elrod II (285 Articles)
John is currently untitled. This complete lack of definition would drive most into abject bitterness and utter despair, but not someone of John’s virility. No, John is the picture of mental stability and emotional platitude.

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