Boom! Studios 2016
Created & Written by Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Illustrated by Jonas Scharf
Coloured by Doug Garbark
Lettered by Jim Campbell
After the New Confederacy is crushed in a second Civil War, only Kentucky holds out, not recognizing U.S. sovereignty. This leads to a particularly brutal crackdown in a small mountain town called Red Rock, where a mechanic and reluctant folk hero named Kade Mercer rises up to become the first feudal warlord of Appalachia.
Well this is certainly nothing like I was expecting it to be like. That’s a good thing folks because it’s so much better than I could have imagined. Now we don’t rightly know the specifics that led to another civil war though with this election going on right now it isn’t hard to see how such a thing would be possible. If we learn that at all it’ll be during flashbacks and i’m not sure we need to know really what’s done is done, this is the new reality and well Kentucky is the only state with its own sovereignty something neither side apparently appreciates. Though Russian satellite countries we had no problem with doing the same thing.
The way that Phillip presents this is pretty strong and I like the radio guy who talks about what’s what. Who to trust and the state of things right now it’s a nice opening for the series and it really does a nice job kind cutting through the what if’s to the what is. For most folks who live in this region that we focus on they just want to live and survive like anyone else with their inalienable rights. With Northern troops occupying the area and considering them well shall we say less than civilised it makes for tensions to rise and hard times even harder.
This however is the story of Kade Mercer and we meet him taking care of his family and doing what he does as a mechanic. Helping those in need trying to provide for his family and his friends. Doing what’s right by people because that’s the way you should behave. The characterisation here is great we get a really good look at him, his family and those that live in the area as well those soldiers here to “do their jobs.”
The setup for what’s to come and the direction Kade’s life is going to take is done extremely well also. Every story needs that catalyst that moment that changes things forever and by the end of the issue we get just that and it’s one that is extremely well thought out and executed.
The interiors here are just as strong as the writing and that’s great to see. I like the way the backgrounds are utilised here to really flesh out the landscape and set the tone, mood and feel of this area. The flow of the story through page layouts with the use of angles and perspective is great. The way the folks look is fantastic it’s very realistic and not exaggerated or stereotyped they look like regular folk who live in harsh conditions. I really am impressed with the work that Jonas and Doug bring to the table.
A second civil war has left the country more than divided and with one lone hold out state declaring it’s own independence we get a first hand look at what this region is going through and how it’s going to have stand alone to survive. Dynamic, interesting and with strong interior artwork this is definitely a stand out!