Southern Bastards continues to be one of the strongest and consistent new titles to hit the comic shelves lately. There really hasn’t been one issue that failed to either surprise, disgust, and entertain on some level since Jason Aaron and Jason Latour unleashed this on the masses. Issue nine continues this as the creative team begins a new arc starting with the investigation/cover up of Coach Big’s death along with shedding some light on the events that led to Hardy becoming Sheriff.
Now, it seemed as if Aaron spent so much time on getting you to empathize with Coach Boss only to have you hate him all over again. This is one of the brilliant parts of the story because no matter what, he doesn’t want you to forget that Boss is a horrible person. He’s several other words too but that wouldn’t be appropriate to say for this review. Although the great thing about a good villain is that they are the hero in their own mind which explains why he did what he did to Hardy during his time in high school. As vile and self serving as his acts were, he really did believe he was doing something good for him. Aaron fleshing out Hardy in this issue also reveals just how damaged the Sheriff really is especially when you read his words and see that last panel.
When it comes to the art, Jason Latour has been drawing some of the best pages in this series and squeezes every ounce of emotion needed to make this series work. It’s a very human story and all of the emotional nuances are captured here and put in every panel so you feel it. There was even a flash of anger as Latour shows that bloodstained bat of Earl’s sitting above Coach Boss as he has a casual conversation with the Sheriff. Something that was subtle but reminds you again of what kind of man he is. The color pallet change for the flashbacks is another great piece of storytelling that’s come to be a mainstay and only helped to strengthen the emotion in the series. His art style doesn’t just fit the story but enhances everything about it and just immerses you into the world they have created.
If you’re looking for something outside of your regular capes and tights reading experience then Aaron and Latour have crafted something worth checking out. Southern Bastards is drama, action, football, suspense, and one of the best titles set in the ‘Dirty South’ that you’ll read!