Southern Bastards #1-4 Review

On the eve of the release of Southern Bastards #5, I thought it would be good to do a short review of the previous four issues which make up the first story arc: Here Was a Man.

Southern Bastards concerns an elderly man, Earl Tubb, who returns to his former home in the deep south of America for the first time in forty years. It’s a place he’d rather forget, a sorry looking town where the people live in fear of the terror that surrounds them due to the almost tyrannical rule of football coach, Coach Boss (yep that’s his name). To say much more would be to spoil the story but let’s just say there is some serious emotion in this book and some serious bad-ass action.

Written by Jason Aaron and with art by Jason Latour, this has been one of the most refreshing comics of the last few years. It doesn’t deal with superheroes or any supernatural powers; it is all very normal. And in that lies its brilliance. The Jasons’ have crafted such a wonderfully authentic atmosphere that you cannot help but be absorbed into it. Aaron’s dialogue epitomises the town of Craw County, as you can almost here the Southern accent as you read the pages. Latour’s art compliments it beautifully, as its not neat or tidy, it’s scruffy with rough edges just the characters and indeed just like the place. Just because its not clean or smooth does not mean that the place is not represented as something beautiful though. There lies something deeper in the art, in the words and in the story as a whole. The South is portrayed as brutal but there’s something admirable and possibly even quite tranquil to be found there too. The fact that the creative team can depict so much emotion in such a limited number of pages is a huge credit to them.

The Jasons’ weave together a heartbreaking story with what is essentially a revenge tale. Tubb is a good man, a peaceful man in many ways, it seems he’s just trying to get in and get out as quickly as possible, but there’s demons and ghosts in Craw County that he has to deal with first. This is where the anger, frustration and brutality comes from; he hates seeing the place he loves under the thumb of such despotic men as the awesomely named Coach Boss. If you enjoy American football, BBQ ribs and the underbelly of the American South then this is the comic for you. Equally if you enjoy authentic atmospheres, empathetic characters, and effective violence this is also for you. Actually if you enjoy great storylines and art period, pick this comic up because in a few short pages you’ll be glad you decided to visit Craw County.

Verdict: 9.5/10
One of, if not the best new comic series of the year so far. There’s nothing better than getting stuck in the deep south with this creative team.

The Wrestlers You Should Know About But Probably Don’t: 2) Kevin Steen

Credit: Ring of Honor Wrestling's Twitter Page

Credit: Ring of Honor Wrestling’s Twitter Page

Continuing with the trend set in the previous article of wrestlers who have recently signed with WWE, we analyse the agile big-man that is Kevin Steen. He is perhaps most famous for his work in the American company, Ring of Honor, where he was a former world champion, being only one of nineteen men to have held the prestigious belt. However, over the past decade you could also catch the star in a variety of other independent companies such as California based Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, 2CW, Revolution Pro Wrestling and Combat Zone Wrestling.

Steen excels as a charismatic babyface with his interactions with fans always hilarious. In any and every company in which he works, he manages to establish a connection with the fans that very few others can achieve. His approach encourages maximum crowd interaction which increases the audience’s interest. This means the audience is invested in every move, every hold and every word he has to say.

The ability to talk is vital in order to reach the top in wrestling today (unless you are a super-athlete like Brock Lesnar), and Steen is currently one of the very best in the business. He can certainly back up his words too with a variety of moves which have rightfully earned him the nickname “Mr Wrestling”. He is not your prototypical ‘big-guy’ wrestler though. Sure he can execute a brilliantly brutal package piledriver, but he can also fly with all the grace of a crusierweight. He shouldn’t be able to do all the moves he does, and that’s why its so amazing.

His charisma and infrequent high-flying may make him the perfect babyface character, but there is no doubt that Steen is as good if not better as a whole when he is playing a heel. He can play destructive, twisted and evil, or slightly more comedic, the latter being seen most recently in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla stable Mount Rushmore.

To get up to date with Steen’s work thus far there are numerous RoH DVDs dedicated to his feuds which you can find online, as well as events he has been a part of for numerous different companies. A short list of a number of important matches in his career are listed below. To be completely honest though, you cannot go wrong with any Steen match in any company, as he is consistently brilliant against any opponent.

-Kevin Steen vs Nigel McGuinness
-Kevin Steen vs El Generico (Ladder War. But any match really, as all are fantastic)
-Kevin Steen vs Shinsuke Nakamura
-Kevin Steen and El Generico vs The Young Bucks

 

Have thoughts on Steen as a wrestler? Will he connect with fans in WWE? Let us know your opinion in the comments section.