The first issue of Southern Dog was pretty intense. It’s also a strange story as it’s dealing with racism and werewolves, but more so with racism. While the first issue kind of dealt with the illusion of white racism, the second issue dives in deep with the KKK and hate crimes. If you didn’t read the first issue for some reason there are spoilers ahead for both issues.
At the end of the last issue we learned that Jasper’s father is a full-fledge member of the clan and after finding out that his son was picked on and beat up by a black kid he decides to dust off his pajamas and round-up some other members of the idiot club.
*Note I am reflecting my own personal opinions about the “Klan”, but the story deals with it in a real world setting.
In this issue Jasper finds himself riding in his dad’s car wearing the good sheets and freaking out about everything he’s seeing. His brother of course is all for it, but we already know that he’s a few crayons short of a full box. I’m not going to tell you the scene, but it’s safe to say that Jasper doesn’t go along with it and a werewolf transformation may have something to do with it.
The issue overall was just okay. There’s some aspects that weren’t revealed fully in this issue which I found strange because it was the perfect opportunity, but I suppose it will be revealed later. The scene in the opening was kind of intense, but there was something almost too causal about it. I think it was the fact that Jasper didn’t put on the hood. Granted that shows that he wasn’t just going to blindly go along with it, but given the type of man his father is I don’t think he would accept him just walking about revealing his identity. That and the family’s reaction wasn’t intense enough. You’d expect the family to be crying and weeping especially when the two men of the family are lynched. Yeah holy shit lynched. I have to say that was pretty damn crazy.
But that kind of feeds into my next question or problem with the issue, I assume that this is the family of the kid that picked on/beat up Jasper and yet a week later he’s back to picking on him… I’m not saying that people change overnight, but if I was in this situation I think I would have cooled it. Even if it wasn’t his family and his friend’s family, it just seems unrealistic. Granted it's not like they left a note saying, "Don't pick on Jasper", but given the situation it's difficult to believe.
I did still enjoy Jasper’s narration, it was still very earnest and the best aspect of the story.
The art is consistent, but I think some of the intensity problems stem from the art. It’s still a good-looking issue though and the bits with the werewolf are definitely the best looking of the issue. The coloring could have been better as it’s a flatter and muted when really a vibrant look would make the scenes pop off the page more.
Overall it sounds like I’m being really hard on this series, but it’s only because I like it. I like the fact that it’s dealing with racism and while I don’t really get the need for the werewolf, I’m in it to find out. Comic books are the perfect medium to tackle all varieties of subjects and in creative ways. So while I think there were some missteps in this issue it’s still purchase worthy and definitely one that I’ll continue to follow.
Writer: Jeremy Holt Artist: Alex Diotto Colorist: Adam Metcalfe Publisher: Action Lab/Danger Zone Price: $3.99 Release Date: 10/22/14 Format: Print/Digital