A Series of Unimportant Moments: Southern Bastards, Issue Nine

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SOUTHERN BASTARDS #9 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JASON LATOUR WRITER: JASON AARON
LETTERER: JARED K. FLETCHER

Southern Bastards certainly knows how to do a slow build. Both of its finished arcs have developed a pattern of slowly increasing tension until it bursts completely, and both endings have changed the course of the book. The death of Coach Big may not seem like that much of a mystery, but for Coach Boss, why Big would kill himself is something he can’t comprehend, and that means poor Sheriff Hardy has to solve a crime that isn’t really a crime at all. Southern Bastards #9 focuses on his life in the wake of both Earl and Big’s deaths, and more than ever proves how trapped some of the people in Craw County are.

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Setting A Tone: Saga, Issue Twenty-Nine

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SAGA #29 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: FIONA STAPLES WRITER: BRIAN K. VAUGHAN
LETTERER/DESIGNER: FONOGRAFIKS

(SPOILERS!) 

It’s obvious that Saga wants to be a book everyone can relate to- it touches on every theme imaginable, from love to life to death. The only aspect of it that may seem foreign to some of its luckier readers is warfare and the destruction that lies wherein, and while occasionally the book simmers down enough to let the reader relax, Saga #29 reminds us of the importance of that concept with one of its highest body counts yet.

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Quoth The Raven: Gotham Academy, Issue Seven

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GOTHAM ACADEMY #7 DC COMICS
ARTIST: MINGJUE HELEN CHEN WRITER: BECKY CLOONAN & BRENDEN FLETCHER
LETTERER: STEVE WANDS

What do you think about stand-alone episodes? Okay, what do you think about filler episodes? There’s a different feeling to each of those terms: that the former contains some sort of “special”, “unique” air, while the latter pertains to something inherently worthless. At their core, though, they mean the same thing: an episode of a series that does so little for the main plot, at least at the point it is released, that it could easily be skipped. Gotham Academy #7 is the first issue of the book that could count as being in that category, and while that works to its detriment in many ways, it’s still got plenty of fun going for it.

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Time and Space: Morning Glories, Issue Forty-Six

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MORNING GLORIES #46 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JOE EISMA WRITER: NICK SPENCER
COLORIST: PAUL LITTLE LETTERER: JOHNNY LOWE
COVER ART: RODIN ESQUEJO DESIGN: TIM DANIEL

You can’t say Morning Glories doesn’t have scope. It’s a book with so many wheels spinning that this month’s central character hasn’t appeared in an issue for nearly two years, and it brings her back with maybe the most explicit confirmation the book has ever given about how vast it wants its world to be. There’s not much bigger you can get than implying your main cast consists of literal gods- and much of Morning Glories’ plot has revolved around the fact that few of its characters can fully comprehend such a massive idea. Irina and Mr. N, on the other hand, certainly can, and that awareness allows this issue to break a lot more ground than most.

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“I think we lose ourselves.”: The Woods, Issue Thirteen

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THE WOODS #13 BOOM! STUDIOS
ARTIST: MICHAEL DIALYNAS WRITER: JAMES TYNION IV
COLORIST: JOSAN GONZALEZ LETTERER: ED DUKESHIRE

Timeskips may be one of the biggest hit-or-misses a creator, or creators, can take. If done well, they can breathe new life into a story that would otherwise stagger; if not, they’ll leave a viewer or reader cold, feeling as if they’re missing something that seems vital. There’s also the fact that they may falter in retrospect, once a reader can look over an entire story and realize many promises haven’t been fulfilled. It’s because of that that I can’t say how well The Woods’ one year skip will work just yet, but it certainly has a booming start here, presenting us with a Bay Point that’s a lot more stable and a major cast of characters who aren’t.

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