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Southern Bastards #11 Review

"Exterminating Angel"

The issues of Southern Bastards have been a little sporadic lately, though that’s understandable since the creators are busy guys. Jason Aaron is a high-profile writer for Marvel Comics, notably on Star Wars, and artist Jason Latour has also carved out a nice spot for himself as the writer on the popular Spider-Gwen title. So Southern Bastards may have taken a backseat in recent months. Southern Bastards #11 shows, though, that the Jasons still have a potent and volatile comic going here.

 

Southern Bastards #11 p1

 

Southern Bastards #11 is all focused around a new character, known as Brother Boone, who is a “back-to-nature” type of guy who hunts with a crossbow and is part of a Shaker-like church that uses snakes and speaks in tongues. In general, the issue is a character-driven story as we get to know Boone. Then, it intersects the main story of the series in an interesting way, when he murders a minor member of Coach Boss’ crew for raping a mentally-disabled woman. There is also a pretty clear indication that this isn’t Boone’s first murder.

 

For much of Southern Bastards #11, it looks like this will be solely an issue to introduce a new character, one who will eventually connect to the story, so it was a nice surprise that Aaron and Latour so quickly brought him into the main Southern Bastards story, at least tangentially. There are a number of ways this story could now go, but it seems like it’s being set up for Boone to square off against Coach Boss, which could be exciting because it would be a Daryl Dixon-style backwoods marksman versus a crew of deadly football gang members.

 

Southern Bastards #11 p2

 

Another interesting element of Southern Bastards #11 is that Aaron and Latour don’t set up Boone as some sort of force of good to face off against the crime-boss Boss. Boone is clearly a dangerous person who has a specific set of morals but ones that are rather warped. He believes God is guiding him to certain purposes – that he is an instrument of God – but the only outcomes of that religiousness which we see are destructive and murderous. So if Boone is to face off against Boss (which he clearly wants to do), it will be a bad guy versus a slightly-different bad guy.

 

Although Latour’s art has been pretty unconventional since the start of Southern Bastards, mostly I have thought it worked well for the series. It is scratchy, raw and his colors add a great deal. In Southern Bastards #11, though, Latour’s art was more inconsistent. There are some pages and panels that have a very awkward perspective and composition. The art on the issue gets better towards the end, but overall it’s not Latour’s best issue.

 

Southern Bastards #11 p3

 

Southern Bastards #11 works well as a stand-alone issue that still connects to the main story, which is not an easy trick to pull off. In some ways, the separateness of the issue lends itself well to the long gap between issues of the series (a reader doesn’t need to remember too many details from the last issue to enjoy this one). Hopefully, as the story lines intersect in future issues of Southern Bastards, there won’t be so much time between when the issues come out.

Rating
7.9
Pros
  • Effective stand-alone issue, introducing new character
  • Boone's moral code is complex
  • The issue neatly connects to the larger story of the series
Cons
  • Latour's art is a bit awkward on some pages and panels

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