"Bayou Bound" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Big City Comics
Written by Jeffrey Kaufman
Illustrated by Kevin West
Colored by James Brown
2015, 100 Pages
Chris Miller is a 22-year-old college student in the prime of his life. He's heading to a football game with some bros and feeling great. All of this changes when he enters the town of Wildwood, Louisiana...and realizes he can't leave. It's like there's a weird force field around the town. Faced with no other option, he decides to join the local police force as their expert on supernatural crime. You know, that's the next logical step.
This is the big grain of salt you have to take to enjoy Bayou Bound. You have to believe that a college kid just starting out in the world would so easily drop everything and take up residence in this small town. You would imagine that he would be doing anything in his power to break free of these boundaries and return to his everyday life, not give up after 30 seconds and immediately accept a job with the police. You need to get through this to get into the story because if Chris isn't stuck there, there's no book. I just wish there was more of a reason for him to do so instead of a magic invisible wall. We don't even find out what that's about either.
It's not all a downside in Wildwood though. He gets this job and he finds that he has some superhuman abilities. This allows him to take on the supernatural creatures big and small that reside in the town and are constantly up to no good. Plus, he meets a sweet girl...that just so happens to be a ghost. We follow Chris as he literally starts to make a name for himself, as everyone calls him “New Jack” because he's replacing a guy named Jack.
The creatures Chris faces are varied and terrifying. Wildwood has a bit of everything. This trade paperback has vampires, werewolves, zombies, ghosts, demons, angels, a guy in a monkey mask, and more. Artist Kevin West shows a real talent for drawing these beasties. The designs are all unique and no two creatures look alike. It's a cornucopia of monsters. Any fan of the supernatural will find at least one to enjoy here.
This is a good thing and a bad thing. The variety is nice to showcase the crazy world that Chris has gotten himself into, however it's a lot to take in within a short amount of time. There are ten pounds of story in a five-pound book here. In addition to all of this, there are some secrets to Chris' past and his family that tie into the town, plus some sort of deal with the devil and/or angels. Not enough time is dedicated to developing the characters, so it makes it tough to care about them when they're in mortal danger. The whole thing feels rushed, whereas if it was broken into two separate volumes or just focused on some key aspects, it would have a much better flow.
On the surface, Bayou Bound should be like True Blood meets Fables. It's a comic about a cop in a small southern town working the supernatural beat. It falls short on this promise with a convoluted story that doesn't fully make sense. There are a lot of great ideas in here that could be fleshed out more and I'd certainly love to see Kevin West draw more monsters.