‘Cause, baby, now we got bad blood
The Bowmans live a relatively peaceful existence in their small Texas town — they raise cows, run a BBQ joint and try to lay low. They have been around for centuries been in Texas before it was Texas, see they are vampires. Mostly they keep to themselves, drink cows blood and try to live the quiet life, especially Bartlett Bowman. He just likes to sit on the front porch, drink beer and relax, he doesn’t like to take sides or really get himself involved in much trouble. He has learned through his many years of living that it is just easier this way. On Christmas eve some of the younger of the Bowman clan decide they want to go out into town just for one night and no one is going to stop them. They run into trouble when they happen upon some of the Landry family and old feuds are re-ignited when tempers run hot. The Landry’s know about the Bowman’s vampire secret and with one wrong move the blood feud is reignited.
Donny Cates writes a very intriguing family feud story in Redneck #1. The whole vampire part of the story is really less of the whole drama and it really has much more to do with family and bad blood between people (Cates has a great back up essay about why he wanted to write this story). Cates does fantastic character work and brings a likability and a familiarity to the character Bartlett Bowman that is easy to connect with at some level. Cates continues to use the narration box to great effect, much like in his other series God Country, he gets great use of storytelling and character development out of its use. Donny Cates is a fantastic story teller and continues to create this family drama stores veiled in more fantastic settings.
Lisandro Estherren does some beautiful cartooning in this issue. The sketchy penciled style gives the series a rough feel to it and brings the southern country into full effect and the reader knows where they are just by the setting alone. Estherren’s detail to scenery and background detail in locations really brings the story to life and is the highlight of the book. The character proportions are somewhat distorted and faces are in a more cartoonish style, which gives the series a somewhat less realistic feel. Cunniffe on colors does a great giving Redneck that “western” color palate, using blues, pinks, reds and oranges to the advantage of the scenery and firmly placing the reader in this location. The art is good but I am not entirely sold on if it fits this series. The disproportionate characters and more cartoony style feels a little off for the tone of this book.
Redneck is a good first issue, it sets up the story well and by then end of the issue the reader is well versed in this world and where the characters stand. It is hard to tell where the story will go from here. Obviously, there is going to be some retaliation and more blood spilled, but Cates leaves the reader with some deeper mysteries about the Bowman’s vampire heritage and exactly why the Landry’s have been feuding with them throughout the years. The art is good, especially the scenery and background details, but the more “cartoony” proportions of the characters sometimes throw off the “vibe” of the first issue. Overall Redneck #1 is a good start o a new series and delivers a tale of family feuds and how one bad night and make for a whole mess of trouble.