Can I just tell you that I love comic books that swear? Yep, I am a sucker for salty language and that’s what you get with Image Comics, Southern Bastards #17, along with an exciting story. There might be some spoilers ahead, so be careful.
We start out this book with some solid visuals of some punk wearing a SPAWN shirt doing some damage to a vehicle. He’s really pulling out all the stops. He’s using a baseball bat, sawed off shotgun, and a shit ton of swear words. We realize that this guy is part of a gang that has commandeered a truck hauling a bunch of cars. The SPAWN guy continues to do damage while trying to get his group to do the same. We see the trucker cowering telling the guys they really picked the wrong car hauler to mess with. The trucker blurts out that the truck belongs to Colonel Quick McKlusky, and takes a baseball bat straight to the face from SPAWN guy. Not sure who this Colonel is, but I am sure he doesn’t take kindly to punks messing with his cars or beating up on his trucker.
Cut to a scene where a dog is barking at a dude on a porch. There’s dog shit all over the porch, and he’s not too pleased about it. Then there is a panel showing the car hauler on fire along with the trucker on the ground laying in his blood. Along with the same guy who was really pissed off about a dog shitting on his porch, he’s laying on a couch with a newspaper about the failing high school football team. Not sure why these scenes were shown together, but I will keep going because I wanna’ know who the hell this Colonel Quick McKlusky is.
We see a practice field full of football players and a pretty ornery dude sporting a pretty obvious Confederacy glorifying shirt and Zubas. Sounds about right. He’s being pretty shitty, I know huge surprise some dude wearing a shirt that says, “General Lee Surrendered, I Didn’t!” shirt is a real asshole. You get the feeling with this exchange that this guy and the coach of the football team are in line with each other because they talk about a certain player that won’t be coming to practice. They discuss that McKlusky won’t be making any money off those cars. It’s safe to assume that the local boys are utilizing these football players for more than just touchdowns. They go on to talk about how yes, the jobs are important, but so is football because, you know, the South. Not sure if anyone else in town knows what horrible their football team is into, but someone knows. We see a shocked football player point out that their Fieldhouse is on fire! The coach runs into the flames and realizes that whoever set the blaze, set his office on fire. You see flames licking trophies while the coach stands back getting irate. Someone knew just where to set the fire to really get to the coach.
An exchange between a sheriff and a fancy looking real estate lady in a speeding Convertable gives us a little bit more background on the Coach and how connected he is in the community and crime. She talks warnings to the sheriff and it doesn’t seem to get through to him. She speeds off foretelling the future of the town. The sheriff then makes his way over to a cemetery where the Coach is standing by a gravesite. You get the feeling from the sheriff and Coach exchange that they have a history together surrounding the grave that they are gathered by. It was their old football coach because you know the South. They talk about the ‘ol days with their old coach. The focus is now turned to the Coach and his burned up hands. The sheriff heard about his Fieldhouse incident, and you get the feeling from the exchange that the fieldhouse is not the only thing about to go up in flames in the town because of the Coach and his decisions to run a crime ring. After a little more insight into the history with these guys, you understand that Coach may be in over his head and has no idea.
An exciting exchange opens up on a speeding car with dudes firing weapons at a car they are chasing. They are chasing after a rival gang, possibly high school football players just like themselves. They get a call from the Coach telling them to back off. The Coach tells them to never go back into that area because this ‘bullshit’ war is over with. Coach hangs up, turns around to a voice and we see him talking to a pretty interesting looking dude. He is tall, with gray hair, a black mustache, gold chain and sweet ass suit. Oh, and the most important part, he’s got a damn monkey on his shoulder. From the surrounding thugs, you find out that this guy with a sweet suit and monkey is Colonel Quick McKlusky. The Coach and the Colonel shake hands, begrudgingly, to end a possible war that Coach may have started with his car hauler stunt. The Colonel wants some ‘reparations’ for what has happened. I’m sure we will find out that it’s going to get a little hairy in the Coach’s life in order to payback the Colonel.
Now we are getting into some other avenues to this story where we see the old mayor getting a visit from the sheriff and the sheriff talking to a pretty sassy older lady about how he wants ‘in’. The sassy old gal tells him that she’s glad he’s finally figured out that this is survival. Not too sure what is up, but I am sure we will learn in later books. Then another scene flashes to a big guy sitting in a truck trying to figure out football plays and is remarking that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone anymore. He then kisses the butt of a shotgun at the hands of a mysterious lady in a dark outfit and shades. Oh man, I don’t know where she came from, but that cliffhanger is pretty damn good.
Overall, I do like the book. They do play up the fact that football int he South is pretty damn important and I do like the element of an evil coach using impressionable football players to do his bidding. It’s a very interesting story line. I feel like this series will continue to get better and better and the drama will increase because you know, the South.