By Brandy Dykhuizien and Arpad Okay. Our Week In Review sums up our weekly comic book coverage while taking time for a new review or two before it’s all over. Did we miss your favorite books this week? Well. This is where you need to be.
Written by Donny Cates.
Art by Lisandro Estherren.
Colors by Dee Cunniffe.
Letters by Joe Sabino.
BD: Redneck has established itself as a bloody Southern Gothic family feud. Like any good squabble between houses, the book’s warring families have been at each other’s throats for centuries, piling up the body count and steeping the surrounding lands in bad blood. While most of the history has been told through the eyes of clan Bowman, this time Donny Cates delivers a whopping amount of exposition via Bartlett, who has always been a bit of a family outlier. Look out; we may begin to feel a little sympathy for the devil.
What Perry finds while traipsing around through Bartlett’s memories shoots the legs out from under her. Cates proves to be a real Class A story teller, weaving a surprising origin story of the age-old feud between snippets of 19th Century Texas history. Bring all these horrors and scenes of slaughter to light through the deceptively innocent doe eyes of a young girl, and we’ve got quite an unsettling tale on our hands.
The time-hopping communications between Perry and Bartlett could have been tricky to navigate without some clever lettering tricks employed by Joe Sabino. He keeps the past and present in line so readers are left to focus on Lisandro Estherren’s fantastic dreamscapes and scenes of horror. Dee Cunniffe compliments Estherren’s artwork perfectly, bathing the Old West flashbacks in tones evoking lantern light and gun smoke.
Redneck #4 is yet another fantastic installment in what has turned out to be a truly unique and enjoyable series. Don’t miss out on this one.
9 out of 10
Mother Panic #9
DC’s Young Animal/$3.99
Written by Jody Houser.
Art by John Paul Leon.
Colors by Dave Stewart.
Letters by John Workman.
AOK: Note the tiny blue cupcakes; the pieces are all in place for a mad tea party in the conservatory. The same for the brickwork and hitching posts found in a Gotham City alleyway. It is with a precise eye for detail that Mother Panic works its sophisticated magic. The contents of a room or the style of a house spill its residents’ secrets. And suddenly, when the story calls for character moments, the clutter clears away. Connections between Violet Paige and her family (both biological and adopted) are given literal space to breathe.
Whole pages are laid out as naught but faces, the panels impossibly empty, Sergio Leone wide shots instead of frame-filling PT Anderson close-ups. Some pages have the negative space the figures float in wreathed with dense foliage, recalling Aubrey Beardsley, a tip of the hat to the vintage bookplate. Instead of cameo or silhouette, these fairytale illustrations have lively faces cast with John Paul Leon’s trademark minimum of strokes.
Equally apt at subtly fleshing out the story is the return of Jody Houser’s abstract imagery, broken glassware and spoiled food imbued with a Pixie Smith tarot card mystery, inserted in the middle of the fight scenes. It makes the showdown between Mother Panic and Gotham’s villain du jour as beautiful as it is brief. The apprehension of Remains is an anticlimax, the confrontation everything, and the collar nothing at all. Which speaks volumes about Violet Paige.
She, and we, are figuring out what gives her life meaning. It just might be as simple as knuckles meeting face. Mother Panic is an endlessly unfolding origin story, unseen pieces from the past continuously coming to light, contemporary actions changing her still. Here, finally, Violet Paige assumes the title of “Mother Panic.” She is transmutation through violence. Epic, mystic, and splendid.
9 out of 10
From earlier this week —
What books did YOU read this week? We want to know! Tell us about those feelings of yours in the comments section below.