Image Comics 2020
Written by Chris Condon
Illustrated by Jacob Phillips
CRIMINAL colourist and first time solo artist JACOB PHILLIPS and writer CHRIS CONDON break onto the scene with a brand-new ongoing series! Like Paris, Texas gut-punched by No Country for Old Men, this mature neo-Western crime series kicks off when the search for a casserole dish leads to a dark and tense confrontation on Sheriff Joe Bob Coates’ 70th birthday.
I love going into these blind as that’s where I think being a reviewer comes in handy. This allows me to have a more critical eye to what I am seeing and to enjoy the way that the story is told in a more pure state. I read this and went over sections a few times and in all honesty I have absolutely no idea what in the great green canopy of the Amazon is really going on here. Plus I love every damn moment of it! Joe Bob’s turning 70 and he’s worrying about if his best years are in the past. From there what we see is a whirlwind of mystery tied into every aspect of what we see and it’s unbelievably good.
The way that this is being told in a pretty smart and interesting manner. The story & plot development that we see through how the sequence of events unfold as well as how the reader learns information is executed flawlessly. I mean the overall way we see Joe Bob as he goes about his day as Sheriff and how all this stuff seems to happen around him. The character development is interesting to me, it doesn’t feel normal but then again neither does the story itself so it fits. We do get a nice look at Joe Bob, his role in this town, his personality and his wife and all of it just makes you want to learn more. The pacing here is phenomenal and as it takes us through the pages revealing twist after twist and turns galore it has this strange hypnotic effect on the reader. How we see the way the book is structured and how everything works together to create the books ebb & flow.
There is something fresh, new and exciting about this book. You think about it long after reading it, it seems to have this really intense humanity angle as well as this supernatural element maybe. Just the way that this is put together was done with such precision and care and it’s pretty damn amazing.
I like the interior artwork a whole heck of a lot. There are times when it feels a tad simple and then there are times it’s so intense and so detailed which really amps up the story’s feeling. Those hair curlers, brilliantly done, the whole bedroom scene and that cave oh my god that cave scene there are some truly magnificent moments here. The way that we see backgrounds utilised is great, could be better but still great nonetheless. The way we see them within the composition of the panels brings us this great depth perception, sense of scale and the overall sense of size and scope to the book. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show a rather strong, talented eye for storytelling. You’d never guess this is his first series as the main artist. The colour work is sensationally rendered as well. The way we see these, I’m assuming digital, brushstrokes that bring the shading are done in a way that isn’t lazy but it’s like the artist who thinks the work is never done and keeps going. I like it’s great and it adds a nice dimension I wasn’t expecting. The hues and tones utilised to create the shading, highlights and shadow work is fantastic to see.
If you want something off the beaten path that will shock, thrill, entertain you and engage your mind then this is for you. If this continues on like this debut then it’s going to be the next big thing we talk about in the comics world.