After yet another lengthy delay, Southern Bastards finally returns with “Gut Check” getting better with each passing issue. Since the death of his right hand man, Big, Coach Boss has been unable to lead his Runnin’ Rebs to victory, scrapping a tie against Locust Fort Superbolts. As we enter this latest instalment, the creative team deliver yet another captivating set of events, with Coach Boss and his gang looking to rectify their poor form. The retaliation of Colonel McKlusky doesn’t make this easy, however, with the brash rival not being the only one out for Coach Boss’ blood.
The way that Jason Aaron approaches the more controversial areas of this book never fails to impress, with his bold dialogue helping generate fabulous tension. The dramatic flair of the writer’s work also stands out in this latest instalment, as despite the delay, the events of the prior issues still manage to have an emphatic effect on the tempo. Where Aaron really grabs my attention, however, is in the way he manages to balance several narratives at once. As despite some of these feeling less important than others, they still leave a sense of foreboding as we move on with the bigger picture.
On the visual side of this book, as ever, is Jason Latour, with the talent once again delivering some gritty illustrations to accompany Aaron‘s script. Having a rough, rustic look, the artist’s pencils certainly help bring this tale to life, with the bloody violence and tense drama captivating from start to finish. The way that Latour balances all this with the mixture of bold, punchy colours also continues to impress, with the rich tone of his palette really helping the violence stand out. Add to this the smooth layouts and engaging facial expressions and it’s hard not to get hooked by these stunning visuals.
Southern Bastards #17 is a reminder of just how good this book can be, which is much needed following its lengthy delay. Giving us some fabulous developments, the creative team continue to show just how far Coach Boss is willing to go to keep his team on top, with there being more than a few unexpected twists along the way.
(9 / 10)