By Daniel Vlasaty
Donny Cates is legit everywhere right now. Dude’s on fire. Much like the wheelchair on the cover of Redneck #3. Much like most of this issue, everything explosive and basking in the glow of flames as the town burns the Bowman compound. Shit gets pretty intense pretty goddamn quickly in this issue. The violence is over the top and maybe a little excessive (which is something I’m all onboard with) but it’s never used to replace a lacking story. I think some writers try too hard to be like Hollywood blockbuster movies. Think about it, think about those movies for a second. Most of the time they have a pretty weak or generic or clichéd story and they make up for that with special effects and blood and explosions. In my opinion, having a ton of shit blow up and just balls-to-the-wall violence will never make up for a shitty story. What I mean is Cates knows what he’s doing here. He knows the story he’s telling and he’s using the violence as a tool, as a way to move the story forward, not just as violence for the sake of violence.
This issue starts off pretty much where issue #2 left off. Except we don’t see the fight or the preceding violence. We only see the aftermath. All the bodies strewn across the lawn. The burning cars and severed limbs. The death and destruction. It’s kind of an interesting choice to not show the fight, I think. Cates and crew could have easily filled up half an issue with a fight as epic as this one appears to have been. I like it though. It shows that this book is about more than just the blood and guts and all that messy shit.
We see two sides to the vampires here. There’s the raging young vampires and there’s the older, and I’ll call them wiser, vampires. They’ve been through some shit in their time and they know that going all berserker-rage ain’t going to shit. But they also know that sometimes you have to do that. I enjoyed the juxtaposition here, but then it just led me to a question: in this world how does a young vampire become an old vampire? I’m only asking because in a flashback scene at the end of the issue from A Long Damn Time Ago… we see Bartlett and Perry being chased by some vampires, and this is when I assume the two of them became vampires themselves. But they haven’t aged at all. Perry is still a little girl and Bartlett still appears to be at least around the same age. I don’t know. I’m just thinking out loud here, so to speak.
But we also get some facetime with the grandpa vampire in the attic. He’s a nasty old fucker. Just skin and bones and pointy ass ears. He doesn’t have any legs and his eyes are buggy and blue. He gives us a little more info on the Bowman family past and also indicates that Bartlett is a little more important than it has appears up until this point. Not sure where Cates is going with this but the old man is a genuinely creepy dude and I can see that he is going to be a great character.
The art team of Lisandro Estherren and Dee Cunniffe really seem to be hitting their stride in this third issue. On the whole, I felt that Lisandro’s art was better and more consistent throughout the entire issue. In my reviews of the previous issues I know I commented on the sloppiness and almost unfinished quality to some of the art. There are still some bits that are sloppy in issue #3. Especially when it comes to the scratchiness of the faces and shadows. But I think it works here. Something about the tone and subject of this issue that I think this style plays out better here than in the previous issues.
Dee Cunniffe’s color work is great. It’s moody and atmospheric, which is exactly what this issue called for. I think the way he colors fire and the light that radiates off it is great. You can almost feel the heat coming off of it. This is a dark book (because, you know, vampires and nighttime and all that shit) so it’s going to be a lot of blacks and blues and grays. This makes the other colors really pop. The reds and yellows and oranges. They seem extra bright and warm.
Redneck is a great book. I’m really enjoying it. I’m all in, officially won-over. Reading in the letters section of the last issue, I know that Cates has written it to at least issue #14, and I’m sure more now, so that is exciting. At least there will be more time to experience this family and all the fucked-up shit I just know they’re going to get up to. Plus, I’m really curious to know more about what the hell was going on with the last page of this issue.