Boom! Studios 2016
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.
So with the events of last issue where the citizens of Red Rock were riled up and the soldiers opened fire and rioting ensued things got more than a tad crazy. We open up right there with all the chaos going on around here. It really is utter madness and the way that it’s brought to us is exceptionally well done. The way that the narration is done makes coming into this easy enough and keeps the “what’s come before” aspect alive and well in a new way.
I like the way Phillip also moves the story forward here. Seeing the President so quickly into this issue was great as well as interest in Kade. Right off the bat he knew who posed the greatest threat in the whole scenario and whether that’s because he’s a shady son of a …. himself is another story altogether but it certainly bears noticing. It’s the little moments of characterisation and plot development that really set a story apart and that we see them here is a sign of great forethought and planning, not to mention some skill and talent.
Also I am a fan of the way that Jonas uses page layouts here. With both the wording and the way panels are done it’s some really good, strong and impactful stuff. The use of angles, perspective and backgrounds here are fantastically utilised and provide some incredible impact for the reader. There’s some really nice emotion coming off the characters and the use of facial expressions and body language really do some wonderful things in helping tell the story.
The story build up here is going well. That Kade now has a mission to undertake and his son to rescue means he’ll do whatever is necessary to get him back. Worst thing you can do is take someone’s kid after all that’s just asking for trouble. That there’s a perfect storm of events that lead to all this happening and that it feels organic rather than staged also speaks volumes at how well this is written.
The Civil War that tore apart the country and left Kentucky on it’s own is much like a character in itself. We see the state as being abandoned in a sense, bereft of the modern technology the rest of the country has. So we see old mines and wilderness full of different types of folks now as a kind of new normal. Add all these different aspects and the fact that the town are now kind of outlaws and you can see the shape of things to come.
There are wonderful aspects of the world as know it today along with some pure fiction that blends to create a wonderful new type of story. This is an incredibly interesting book full of sharp writing and solid interiors.