If you are a fan of Sons of Anarchy, please do yourself a favor, pick this issue up. It is not written by Kurt Sutter, but it is being, for lack of a better word, monitored, by the original creator of the hit television series. This review somewhat assumes previous knowledge of the TV series. I was a very avid watcher of Sons of Anarchy, sometimes watching and re-watching entire seasons in a weekend, that is how hooked I was to it. Towards the end of the television series, I kept wanting to know more about how the club started, maybe a cool original nine TV spinoff. Though this is not quite a story of how the MC started and grew, it does give us a lot of details about the club pre-television series. Personally I like the idea of seeing Jax Teller as a prospect and following his story of how he grew and became the person he is in the TV show. Being that this is essentially a prequel, I wasn’t sure where the series was going to start. I was happy to find out that we were being given a young Jax Teller, whom just said goodbye to Tara, trying to find himself, trying to gain the respect of his club. Jax is a young, easily aggravated, ready to defend the honor of his club, kind of kid right now. He is searching for any way to prove himself worthy of the SAMCRO patch, picking fights with civilians, and setting buildings on fire.
In terms of the rest of the club, we have all the characters we all grew to love in the TV series: Chibs, Tig, Bobby, and Clay. The first major event in the issue is one we have been accustomed to, classic gun exchange for money. Instead of money, though, the MC is getting a lot of Cocaine. For those not aware, the MC typically does not deal with drugs, in fact, the MC does not like the idea of drug running or selling drugs to the people of Charming. Clay, although pissed about the exchange, really doesn’t have much choice but to go along with it or else they would be out a lot of money. Many of the other members are upset that such a huge decision and risk was not voted on. Big decisions that involve the club are typically voted on by the members of the club with a majority ruling in favor of decisions.
Once the exchange is over we are taken to the MC clubhouse where a party is underway. Clay and Jax have a talk basically ending with Clay saying Jax is arrogant and dumb for acting the way he is. What he doesn’t see is that Jax is doing all these things to impress his step-dad, Clay. Jax and Opie begin a dialogue regarding membership in the club and how Opie should join. Opie seems much more conflicted in the comic series then he did during the show. Opie is wanting to finish college and make something of himself while Jax is content with being a high school dropout.
Although not written by Kurt Sutter, this issue is in sync with how he writes. Ollie Masters, the creative mind behind the dialogue, delivers a well-paced story. Characterization is pretty decent, although I felt if you haven’t seen Sons of Anarchy then you would have been very confused about who anyone was. No character gets a good amount of depth except for Jax whom this issue revolves around for the most part. Besides a lack of real depth for the characters, this was quite an enjoyable read, but then again I am among the group that has seen the TV series. A great aspect of this issue is that we are presented with a few big problems that need to be figured out. First off is the drugs, and the other is Opie’s undeniable desire to join his best friend in the MC.
Filling Kurt Sutter’s shoes a big task, but Masters certainly seems up to the task. He delivered a well written issue that is backed by the wonderful artwork of Luca Pizzari. Pizzari does a great job displaying emotion on each characters face and even their body language. Granted it isn’t the most detailed comic ever, it still gets the idea across within each panel. My personal favorite panel of the issue involved Jax and Chibs chasing a guy down that was driving a big rig. You really get the sense of danger with the art and also the speed at which the vehicles are going. An issue I had with the art was that in a few panels the characters eyes were missing and in their place was just darkness. I would have liked to see clearer drawn eyes because the eyes can really show emotions especially in art.
The few reasons I am not giving this issue a 5 out of 5 is because of the lack of character development. New readers might get lost as to who the characters are and why they are important. The other is that the art wasn’t quite top notch, again the dark eyes just took away some of the raw emotion that could have been there. Nit-pickiness aside, definitely give this series a shot whether completely new to the Son’s or a well knowledgeable fan of the show.
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Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #1 Writer: Ollie Masters Artist: Luca Pizzari Publisher: BOOM! Studios Price: $3.99 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital