"Redneck #14" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics / Skybound
Written by Donny Cates
Illustrated by Lisandro Estherren
Colored by Dee Cunniffe
Lettered by Joe Sabino
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on August 22nd, 2018
Bartlett was just shot in the stomach with a shotgun. Fortunately, he’s a vampire and he’s not that easy to kill. He’s come to Austin to seek refuge at his ex-girlfriend July’s place, only to find himself in the crosshairs. If you thought the Bowmans’ lives were complicated before, just wait until they meet this crew and the Parliament of Elders.
Redneck #14 makes the jump into greater vampire lore. Of course, the Bowmans weren’t the first bloodsuckers to settle in the United States. There were many before them and they’re organized. That’s where the Parliament comes from. It turns out the patriarch of the Bowman clan was once part of this group…until he went a little crazy. Since then, this family has operated under the radar, but all that is about to change.
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I’m not sure how I feel about old-school European vampires popping up in Redneck. This series has excelled with its particular Southern style that doesn’t jive with the high-collared, uptight look of Dracula folk. It might make for some culture clash, but it feels a little like retreading stuff from True Blood.
I’m not saying I’m bailing on Redneck at all. I have the utmost faith in writer Donny Cates and he’s yet to steer me wrong on his horror comics. In this instance, the Parliament is operating in the shadows to an extent, making plans with and against the Bowmans, which is going to cause problems for Bartlett and his crew.
While these folks are all vampires, they come across as normal people for the most part. That is definitely not the case for Ingrid, the leader of this group in Austin. She is a menacing and powerful vampire. Her first encounter with Bartlett is a little funny, as he’s mystified and she’s giving him this extreme evil eye. Colorist Dee Cunniffe flips her blue eyes to red for some added intensity. They shine through the darkness like lasers.
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Artist Lisandro Estherren always shows Ingrid in a position of power. She stands and looks down at Bartlett as he’s recovering from his shotgun wound. It’s clear from the first moment you see her that she will take none of his shit.
Letterer Joe Sabino adds the final touch to Ingrid with her dialogue. She doesn’t like to speak. Instead, she communicates directly into Bartlett’s mind. These are displayed in these greyish blue caption boxes that are a similar shade to her hair. They come across just as intimidating as her presence, like she’s forcing these words into your head.
We’re occasionally reminded of the long history of these characters. Since they’re vampires, they’re immortal. This issue may take the cake for the most WTF glimpse into their past as we see how JV and Ingrid know each other. They were friggin’ Viking warriors! How did JV go from a Norse soldier to a redneck in Texas? I have so many questions!
The poor Bowmans are going from one crisis to another. They get a brief moment to catch their breath here, but they are not out of danger yet. Redneck continues to deliver solid family drama mixed with riveting horror. I’m more invested in these characters than those from your average comic because of the time and care the creative team has spent building them up. This makes every issue a nail biter, as their safety is far from guaranteed.