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"Redneck #18" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Image Comics / Skybound Entertainment

Redneck 18 00

Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Lisandro Estherren
Colored by Dee Cunniffe
Lettered by Joe Sabino
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 2nd, 2019

Review:

I knew it. I friggin' knew it. After two issues of peace and prosperity, the other shoe drops in the most devastating way imaginable. The Bowmans have been through so much over the course of Redneck so far, so it was great to see them let loose and just enjoy life for a change. The pendulum swings back hard and this issue is chock-a-block full of blood and gore and it hurts so much.

The beauty of Redneck #18 is that it doesn't immediately show you the fire and bloodshed. You learn about this secondhand, as the Parliament of Elders talks about the events of the wedding three weeks later. This starts your mind racing with what could have happened. I even went back to flipped through the previous issue to make sure I didn't miss anything.

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This is a risky move, but it pays off in a huge way. We know that something horrible happened, but not the specifics, so we're starting to piece this together by the flashes to the past that pop up. Adding to the tragedy is the narration to these scenes. They're Bartlett's vows to his new wife, July. Seeing these sweet words over something so heinous creates this strange feeling and twists the knife even deeper. I love and hate writer Donny Cates.

This trail of blood and tears can be traced back to Evil, a former employee of the Bowman clan who has spent the past few years in jail building up his grudge. He's as methodical as he is deadly. The contrast between his...well...evil expressions and those of pure happiness on the Bowmans' faces is unnerving. Artist Lisandro Estherren shows how Evil is out to cause as much death and destruction as possible while his targets are celebrating for the first time in years. They could not be farther apart.

When the bullets start flying, the blood starts pouring out in buckets. The first shot creates an impressive splatter pattern and colorist Dee Cunniffe fills the page with this dark crimson. It really looks like it's splashed across the page too, not just filled into certain spots within Estherren's pencils.

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That first shot carries so much weight too. You can see the immediate reaction of shock that spreads across the party like a wildfire. Underscoring this further is the small pieces of dialogue, delivered with expert precision from letterer Joe Sabino. Young Perry quietly says, “Evil is here,” in this small font, like she's uttering a death rattle.

I shouldn't be surprised that Redneck rebounded from its moments of peace and tranquility into this issue of absolute chaos. Maybe there was a part of me that just thought the series would end with those happily ever after moments, but those words will never apply to the Bowmans. Their lives are full of heartbreak and sadness and we have been pulled so deep into their world, issues like this pack a huge punch. By the time I finished this issue, I was yelling, “No! No! No!” over and over again as the attacks on these characters feel personal. While it's a tough chapter to get through, it's an incredible read.

Grades:

Story: Fivestars Redneck 18 Cover
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Art: Fourstars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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