Written by: Donny Cates
Art: Lisandro Estherren
Colours: Dee Cunniffe
Letters: Joe Sabino
I feel at home with Cates’ latest horror outing. Like another of his other Texas-based releases, God Country, I can’t help but feel Cates is trying to wipe a peep-hole in the grease and grime covered window to his past; a very public glimpse into an insular landscape where guests aren’t always welcome. I feel at home because, although Redneck succeeds in genre-splicing the unbearable heat of Southern Bastards and the freshness of American Vampire, it still manages to feel familiar – in a good way. Add to this, artwork that has a touch of Jeff Lemire about it, and we end up with a series that’s hot, dusty, rough around the edges and twitchier than a crystal-meth addict at a dental surgery.
Issue one introduced us to the Bowman clan; three generations of vampires living on a cattle ranch in rural Texas. We were also introduced to the Bowman-Landry rivalry, fed by the mistrust between rednecked Texans and now mostly non-violent vampire community. The latest issue picked up where the shocking and inflammatory lynching of one of the Bowman clan left off. Dare I say it…the vampires want blood. But rather than offloading a bite-fest, Cates instead delves into the troubled psyche of a community struggling with restraint. The addition of a sublime moment where the vamps ponder the power of prayer, leaving the reader pondering the place of religion for the undead, is exactly the kind of simple yet thought provoking writing that Cates is fast becoming famous for. The action comes at the end of the book, and just as the previous issue lit a cracker under the reader’s chair at the tail end, this issue too does not disappoint.
Estherren’s art works wonderfully well with the content. There is a predominantly dark hue, as would be expected for a book focused on a family of vampires, to much of the panelling, and even daylight sequences leave the reader feeling unsafe, due to the dark characters, and blinded by the white hot sunlight. Pencilling at times blends with the dark backgrounds leaving lines faded but this adds to the sense of uncertainty created. The cartoon-like faces of the characters only creates a more horrid contrast to the hinted violence and we are left wondering if we should take this story more seriously.
If you’re left thirsty for more by the end of this read, I doubt you’ll be alone. Issue one exceeded sales figures and the title has created a buzz, not just with horror fans, but with fans of original, gritty and thought provoking writing and art. Redneck has it by the vein full.
Thank you for reading our review of Redneck #2. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to come back soon as we post regularly or follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and/or Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.