Right away this issue of Southern Bastards sets itself apart from the rest of the series: the cover is blue. Immediately distinguishing itself from the red motif that artist Jason Latour had been using thus far. It’s a turning point in the series, leading up to the return of Tubbs’ daughter which will hopefully bring things full circle. Issue 13 brings us back to Coach Boss’s storyline, and the anti-climactic finish of the Wetumpka vs. Craw County football game. Boss is finally starting to crumble, and his empire is finally beginning to show signs of its inevitable demise. One of the first things I immediately noticed was how decrepit Coach Boss looks in this issue. Latour makes his hardened face even more rugged, his jawline even more pronounced, until he looks like a damn skeleton. It makes sense though as his plans begin to fall apart around him, and finally those who hate him are beginning to stand up. This comic is a slow burn, only in the sense that the overall plot has a lot of moving parts that don’t always line up right away. Each individual issue is a concise and satisfying read, full of violence and hatred, that will either leave you on the edge of your seat, or shaking your head disgusted with what just transpired. In terms of the plot as a whole, it’s as slow as a BBQ brisket on the smoker. The past few issues alone have revealed to us characters that were teased in the beginning on the story, and even so it feels like each character could have their own plot or arc and be fully realized. That’s the thing about Jason Aaron, his seedy Southern world is so fleshed out and thick with potential, this comic could easily go on for twenty more issues (maybe it will!).
Despite all of the issues detailing Boss Coach’s teenage years, I still feel like I don’t know enough about him as I should. What are his motives, what other crime is he involved in? The man is a powerhouse in local politics, though some of these reasons why, have not yet been revealed. Southern Bastards is one of those interesting comics that completely flips the protagonist on you, and in this case I believe that Boss Coach is the protagonist. Aaron doesn’t necessarily want us to sympathize with Boss, but rather see why he is the way that he is. But in my opinion there is no more satisfying way to watch a villain crumble than by first showing us and then reminding us why we hated him so much in the first place. The inevitable arrival of Tubbs’ daughter in Craw County will surely make for an utterly tragic and satisfying revenge tale, adding even more elements to this already jam packed story.
After the Rebs lose the homecoming game to rivals Wetumpka, Boss Coach in an utterly embarrassing maneuver finds some of the other county’s players and challenges the biggest one to a fight. Of course Boss wins, and it shows the insane lengths that he will go to to protect his reputation, even if that means beating up teenagers. Southern Bastards keeps getting better and better, especially as the characters grow, and new ones are introduced. Craw County hasn’t shared all of its dark secrets with us just yet.
Southern Bastards #13 Writer: Jason Aaron Artist: Jason Latour Publisher: Image Comics Price: $2.99 Release Date: 1/27/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital