The big football game has arrived for our collection of ugly and morally dubious individuals. What will happen? Is it good?
Southern Bastards #13 (Image Comics)
The big game is finally here. Craw County’s Running Rebs are taking on their bitter rivals, the Wetumpka County Warriors. There’s a lot riding on this homecoming game and Coach Boss knows that more than most others.
While there is one more issue to go, #13 is the big climax to the Homecoming arc. This is the big game the storyline has been building up over past a couple of issues, whether in the foreground or the background, and what Coach Boss has been working towards this whole time.
Without giving too much away, this is a great read. I’m not huge into football (outside of the Eyeshield 21 series), but Jason Aaron writes the comic in such a way that you don’t have to be into football that much in order to get wrapped up in it. The issue is mostly about Coach Boss’ own inner and outer struggles as he tries to prove he is still a force to be reckoned with on the field, while getting pressure from all around him. You see his inner monologue as he struggles and tries his best to encourage/inspire his team against this powerful threat in his own “charming” way. You even see him facing down the mayor and his wife (characters that were only briefly seen in #5), which implies some nasty things about this county’s politics. Seeing what he has to deal with and just how awful the people going against him are, you get caught up in the experience and almost want Coach Boss to win… until you remember everything that came before. It’s an incredibly well written tale (even though we don’t see much of the game except for a few brief shots) and now that’s over, we’re are left wondering what happens now given the outcome.
Ah, the wonderful sounds of a supportive audience.
As for everything else in the comic, Aaron and Latour continue crafting a very strong, gritty piece. The pacing and structure of the story are both good and nothing ever seems awkward or stiff in the storytelling. The dialogue is very engaging and you get wrapped up in everyone’s words, like the flashback in the mayor’s office or how much vile disgust there is in everyone’s exchanges. Latour’s art is great for the most part as well. He continues doing good work drawing the characters, laying out the scenes and pages (like with some of the double page spreads), and he has a way with conveying a lot of drama and emotion in a person’s body language.
Unfortunately, he seemed to have some difficulty with the actual football game in the comic. The action seems stiff and awkward at times with how the characters are positioned or move about, while some of the body physiques look rather off at certain angles. It can take away from the brutality going on in the game. Regardless, he still does a great job drawing the issue as a whole and I do really like the clever change with the cover, using blue to represent the opposing county’s team instead of the usual splash of red.
Is It Good?
Southern Bastards #13 is a strong conclusion to this long, built up football game. While light on story progression, the comic makes up for it with very strong characterization for Coach Boss as we see his struggles on the field and off in the Homecoming game. Along with strong writing and good artwork, this was all around another great issue in the series and I’m more than excited to see what happens next when a certain someone finally arrives in Craw County.