Comic Book Review: Redneck #1
This is definitely one of the newer debut’s from Skybound which caught me off guard. Just from the title alone I thought this was just another western story, but then you look further and you find out that this is a vampire story? That is one way to present something different that none of the other stories from Skybound are putting out on shelves. Especially when you know that like some of their other stories, Redneck will have some kick to it that makes it unique.
The concept of Redneck is what drew me in initially. There’s something appealing about a story where a family like the Bowmans actually try to fit in. Normal doesn’t come easily and this family up till now seems like they had it together between their local barbecue joint and the safe distance they keep from the rest of the town. You have somewhat of a view of these monsters from an outside perspective, you have the inner fighting about the way they live their lives, and then you have those who struggle to keep things sane. You just know that no matter how you look at this, crap is going to inevitably hit the fan. We know that things go wrong, but the question was how. Reaching that point was slow, but informative. It took some time to get into the idea that this family is composed of vampires, and then you transition into the tensions that do always rise when you are trying to micromanage each other.
Somehow I wasn’t really expecting how personal this could be and that is attractive for a first issue. There are so many things that turn into been there done that, but this story here is actually engaging when they are dealing with the fear of what happens if someone messes up. At the core, these conversations they are having about the life they live compare to any person who is different. You always worry about the way others will react to you, the way you will respond to them because of that reaction. When you understand the vision of Redneck from Donny Cates, you have to be impressed with the family values which influence much of what the Bowmans do and think. Family isn’t perfect, but it is all that you have when what you do affects everyone else.
Now when that time came, where everything falls apart, the execution was perfect. You could feel the anger and fear which triggers a vampire. It was more than a simple bloodlust or need to feel superior to humans. We tend to forget that a vampire can suffer from the human condition, and that was what we witnessed when the worst case scenario was brought to this family.
The art team of Lisandro Estherren and Dee Cunniffe was an excellent choice. Their style matched a gritty story that is not only about vampires, but set in the south. This is kind of what you picture with that setting in mind. Now what I enjoyed most about Redneck is the focus of the artwork. Again the appeal for this book is that they are throwing the concept of vampires in your face. The characters themselves matter. The way the interact with each other, the way they interact with humans, the tensions which can rise from everyone struggling to see eye to eye about the world around them. By the end of this first issue I appreciated that when it came to the violence, it wasn’t gore created by vampires that sold you on the fear factor. The human threat really shined through as they captured exact;y what the Bowmans are scared of when they wanted to avoid causing the wrong kind of trouble. For a story that also takes place during darker settings, the color selection came naturally. The environment around these characters stood out most and Cunniffe has a beautiful touch of transition between cold colors and warm colors.
Redneck #1 is a must read if you want to see just another family trying to keep afloat in spite of the worst way to live your life. If you are distracted by the fact that the Bowmans are vampires, then you need to know that the story writing and character development comes before the obvious. You can always find new ways to captivate readers when it comes to vampires and this creative team nailed it.