The Gospel According to Esaw Goings: Southern Bastards, Issue Ten

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SOUTHERN BASTARDS #10 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JASON LATOUR WRITER: JASON AARON
LETTERER: JARED K. FLETCHER

Southern Bastards #10 certainly comes off a bit less rounded than most of the issues preceding it, character-wise. When we focused on Earl Tubb, Euless Boss, and finally Sheriff Hardy, we saw complicated men, some better than others, but all coming from conflicted perspectives and backgrounds. But that’s blatantly not the case for Esaw Goings, and Jasons Latour and Aaron want you to know it. Esaw is simply flat-out horrible, and that means some tweaks are required to make an issue about him work- the addition of poor kind bible-thumper Donny Ray, and the loss of any small amount of nuance the book usually has. That may seem a bit disappointing at first, but there’s no other way to go about depicting Esaw; if there’s a most Bastard-y bastard in this book, it’s him.

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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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Worth The Blood: Southern Bastards, Issue Eight

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SOUTHERN BASTARDS #8 IMAGE COMICS
ARTIST: JASON LATOUR WRITER: JASON AARON
LETTERER: JARED K. FLETCHER

If I can say one thing about Southern Bastards, it’s that it has developed an incredibly defined atmosphere. Few other books can compare to it in terms of sheer intensity; when you’re in an issue of Southern Bastards, you are in it, deposited in a world richly defined and, more often then not, full of dread. This month’s issue closes the arc that gave us the backstory of the feared Coach Euless Boss, and it’s a brilliantly delivered piece, primarily due to the beautiful artwork of Jason Latour.

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“There is life after football.”: Southern Bastards, Issue Seven

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We’ve all had some sort of trashed dream over the years, but some of our failures hit worse than others. For Euless Boss, football was more than just the sport he played, the sport he watched, or the sport he practiced day and night; it was also supposed to be his ticket out of Craw County, Alabama, to a better life. This month’s Southern Bastards is a bit of an emotional rollercoaster, implying some sort of success for him over the course of its first half and then quickly trashing his hopes by the end.

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“What the hell got into that kid?”: Southern Bastards, Issue 6

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When I covered Southern Bastards #5 last month, I reacted to the opening scene where a teenage Euless Boss was being beaten on the high school football field by saying “in another story- a story where he grew up into a more decent person- we’d be cheering for him when he got back up and kept practicing.” In a surprising move, this month’s issue of Jasons Aaron and Latour’s southern crime epic removes the ambiguity presented there, by focusing almost completely on Boss’s past and explaining further why he turned out the way he is. It’s hard not to feel for his young self by the end of the issue, and see the good in him, which simply leaves us to wonder: how did Euless Boss become a known and obvious murderer?

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