Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Donny Cates
Artwork: Lisandro Estherren, Dee Cunniffe (colours)
Release Date: 22nd November 2017
The second arc of Redneck from Donny Cates, Lisandro Estherren and Dee Cunniffe kicks off this week, as our dysfunctional family of redneck vampires are forced to relocate to Waco, Texas to try and come to terms with the losses they suffered in the first volume of the series.
If I’m being honest, I’ll admit to having been just a little bit concerned about how well this series would be able to sustain itself so far removed from its roots. Part of the appeal of the first arc was the locale – a family home slap-bang in the middle of a community they’ve inhabited for years, with their bitter blood rivals just across the way – so the idea of moving the series to a brand new location seemed, to me, to be something of a poor choice.
Oh how wrong I was. #InCatesWeTrust, right?
After something of transitional issue which re-introduces us to the Bowman family eight months after the shocking events that drove them out of Sulphur Springs, Cates manages to allay every one of my fears with an emphatic shattering of the status quo in the final pages that takes the series in a shocking new direction. Seriously. Wow. Thirty days seems like an almost sadistic amount of time to wait to find out what happens next.
Before all that, Bartlett continues to provide the narrative heart of the series, and his complex relationship with hated rival Landry gives the issue an enjoyable hook, with Cates’ knack for realistic dialogue shining through during their “vampires 101” conversation. The whole Landry situation injects an interesting dynamic into the dysfunctional family unit, with him being met with indifference at best or out-and-out aggression at worst from everyone in the family — besides Bartlett, that is.
Once again, Estherren’s artwork proves to be tailor made for a series like this. It’s scratchy and chaotic, almost appearing unfinished at times, but dammit if it doesn’t manage to nail every single storyline beat beautifully. I’ve never really been a stickler for detail in my artwork, so long as the emotion and energy of the story comes across, and Lisandro may be a perfect example of that ethos. The guy just ‘gets’ how to tell a story, and when you pair his frenzied pencils up with the always slick and expressive colours of Dee Cunniffe, the result is nothing less than a great looking book – in a very unconventional way.
A tense, violent family drama packed with twists and turns that hit you like a stake to the chest, Redneck is a series that comes highly recommended, and this latest arc shows no sign of losing the fantastic momentum of the first. If you’re not already on board this bandwagon, pick up the first trade – and this issue – as soon as you can. You can thank me later.
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