"Redneck #15" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics / Skybound Entertainment
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Lisandro Estherren
Colored by Dee Cunniffe
Lettered by Joe Sabino
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on September 26th, 2018
After going through hell, the Bowman family gets a moment to rest and catch their breath. They’re surrounded by friends in a safe location. No one is trying to kill them right now. Wait…is this a relaxed issue of Redneck?
While the danger level is low in Redneck #15, we do get a healthy amount of character development and overall reflection. One of the best aspects of the issue comes in a conversation between Seamus and Becca. They’ve gone out on the town and Sheamus is realizing just how different this is from what he’s used to. These folks have clearly found a better way to live as a vampire. The Bowmans have been getting by, but clearly they were missing something.
There’s this fun sequence where Becca basically pokes holes in the initial pitch for Redneck. The Bowmans ran a BBQ joint, cooking the meat leftover by killing the cows they fed on…but why did they kill the cows? Why not just drink them as needed? You know…like how people do with milk. It’s this great bit of humor that feels like writer Donny Cates winking at the audience.
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This issue gives Bartlett a lot of time to shine. He’s this driving force of understanding and general goodwill for the Bowmans, mostly due to how he’s put the family first, even before his own needs. Artist Lisandro Estherren gives him this quiet determination. He wants what’s best for his loved ones, even if that means sacrificing himself.
While I love these reflective moments with Bartlett, there are a number of panels that just look odd. The characters appear in these strange, not quite fully-formed shapes. Estherren’s style has some very loose pencils which can be a little hit-or-miss. They occasionally have the unintended effect of making a character look cartoonish at the worst possible time. This inadvertently creates some comic relief when tension is being built up.
At times, Redneck #15 feels like a completely different story. If you take out the handful of references to vampires, it would read like a quiet family drama. This might sound boring, but it’s far from that. We’ve become so invested in these characters over the course of the series that it is some riveting stuff. We’re learning more about their past and how this whole vampire underworld really works.
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Colorist Dee Cunniffe creates this somber atmosphere in every scene. Whether that’s the cool blues of the evening mixed with the soft yellow light from the porch as Bartlett bares his soul to July or the red glow of a local bar as Sheamus and Becca compare notes, it’s a welcoming experience.
This also comes through in Joe Sabino’s letters. While there is an occasional emphasis on a word, this is an even-keeled issue. Is this that Southern hospitality I’ve heard so much about? Even the vampires have it.
The scares are low in Redneck #15, but it is no less enjoyable. This is a strong character-driven comic and these folks have earned an evening of peace in an otherwise Hellish world. It speaks to the work this creative team has done that a quiet issue like this still packs such a punch, especially as we dive into the history of the Bowmans and Bartlett in particular. I’m sure we’ll be up to the usual life-threatening terror next month.