"Redneck #4" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Lisandro Estherren
Colored by Dee Cunniffe
2017, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on July 26th, 2017
Desperate to find out what happened on a recent forgotten night, Bartlett turns to young Perry for help. The young girl has the unique vampire ability to read minds so she dives into her uncle's memories to search for answers and see what led to Slap's death. Some things are best left forgotten.
I've seen a number of comics that have tried to do a flashback issue and failed. They can come across like you're reading a history book. Some recent issues of Darkness Visible come to mind. They can take away all momentum for a series, effectively hitting the reset button on all the work the creative team has done up until that point. That is definitely not the case with Redneck. Writer Donny Cates weaves the backstory into the current narrative, framing it in the present day context. Every action that Bartlett takes in the past shows more about how he became the man he is today and sheds new light on what could have caused Slap's untimely demise.
|Click images to enlarge|
A big part of why this works so well has to do with how the story is told. It's not in omniscient narration. Instead, Perry and Bartlett are basically walking through his memories. Perry is an observer, right alongside Bartlett as he's reliving these moments. As such, Bartlett's clothes change from scene to scene while Perry's remains the same. It's a nice effect that's handled well by artist Lisandro Estherren.
Colorist Dee Cunniffe gives the flashback scenes a hazy glow. It's the same look I'd expect if you were trying to recall a long lost memory, which is fitting because that's exactly what we're doing here. The panels look a little faded, not quite as bright and vibrant as the real life scenes we see at the beginning and end of the issue.
I've mentioned in previous reviews how Estherren's artwork can be a little uneven. That's still the case here, with some bulky or awkward frames. The basic forms are there, but it can be a little off-putting at times. It's not enough to take you out of the book though.
|Click image to enlarge|
We learn so much too! We find out how Bartlett was turned and how he came to live with the rest of the vampire clan. There's also a thorough introduction to Granpa and what a heinous villain he was. This is a real mountain of a vampire in size and stature, dominating the room from the first moment he enters.
Everything about this stroll down memory lane serves to reinforce the family aspect of Redneck. This book is first and foremost about this family, however dysfunctional and bizarre as it may be. It just so happens that it's made up of vampires. Despite all their flaws and issues, these folks are still connected by blood, albeit it's not the kind that's flowing through their veins. Instead, it's the kind they drink from a victim's throat. As we've grown closer to Bartlett, Perry, and the rest, we care more and more for them. That's going to be hard as things look like they're about to get a whole lot worse.