"Redneck #17" 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 November 28th, 2018
It was a little weird having a feel-good issue of Redneck where the Bowmans weren't in any immediate danger and everyone had a good time. That continues from issue #15 through this one, where we jump ahead ten years and attend a vampire wedding. I'm still waiting for that other shoe to drop and we get a glimpse of that by the end of this issue. For now, we bask in the glory of what might be the last moment of happiness these folks ever get.
Some folks might scoff at the idea of this brief hiatus from all the bloodshed, but Redneck has earned it. We've been through hell with these characters as they've watched their lives get torn apart. They were forced to flee from their homes and leave behind everything they ever had. Writer Donny Cates has carefully crafted these characters so that they feel like real people. I'm so glad to see Bartlett be happy for once. He's carried so much guilt and regret that he's more than earned this day.
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Cates fills this issue with some top notch dialogue. The family has come together to support Bartlett and his new bride, July. That support extends to each other. They may be related only because one turned another into a vampire, but they're family. They love each other and it's pretty friggin' touching. Yes, maybe I got a little teary-eyed reading about a vampire wedding. Shut up.
Letterer Joe Sabino has the unenviable job of fitting all that dialogue onto the page. Everything fits and is never distracting. Instead, it flows through each panel, allowing you extra time to focus on every image. It's like you're taking in these fleeting moments of happiness.
I've criticized Lisandro Estherren's artwork in the past. There are still some elements that I'm not a fan of, however the general feeling is there. You can feel the warmth of love from these characters in how they look at one another. Yes, there are some panels that look rather flat or awkward, but it's not enough to take away from the overall strength of the story.
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For a comic about vampires, Redneck is full of life. Colorist Dee Cunniffe fills these pages with warm blues and purples. Where Cunniffe really excels is the final moments of the ceremony where Bartlett and July step into the sunlight together. Fire crackles around them as their skin literally melts off. They face the sun hand-in-hand as proof of their love while the other vampires watch from the shadows. Don't worry. They're not dead.
The ominous feeling never leaves Redneck. As joyful as these scenes are, there's a dark cloud hanging over them because sooner or later, things are going to get crazy again. Judging by the end of this issue, it's going to be sooner rather than later. This is probably the last time we're going to see such a happy moment for the Bowmans.