The tale of washed up vampires from Texas continues in REDNECK #2 from Image Comics. Writer Donny Cates brings us back to the small town feud that puts an isolated vampire family against the local pastor and his thugs. The roles of this story are slightly reversed as the vampires are the ones attempting to avoid conflict, while the humans are portrayed as distrustful thugs with a vendetta. With Bartlett’s blackout violence putting the family in danger, he is on the outs with JV, the patriarch of the clan. They have existed in anonymity and peace for years, but they all know that Father Landry will come looking to finish the job he started with the murder of Slap, JV’s youngest son. Sure enough, internal family conflict will have to wait as Landry arrives and all the hope for avoiding a fight is lost in bloodlust from both sides.
On the surface, a comic about down and out redneck vampires seems rather silly. Donny Cates has managed to weave a solid story about family, pride, and vengeance. The dynamic of the family structure is explored further in issue number two, as we begin to learn more about JV, Bartlett, and the children. Cates brings real drama and strife to the table and brings a fantastical premise down to Earth, with the simple idea of a father wanting to keep his boys safe. The death of JV’s wife looms heavy his soul. It is implied that this event was the catalyst for the vampire clan renouncing violence and moving to a rural and peaceful existence. The resistance to violence demonstrated throughout this issue solidifies the fact, which makes the ending outburst, wherein the humans bring the fight to them, that much more tragic.
While I am really enjoying the story, Lisandro Estherren’s artwork leaves little to be desired. The loose pencils and heavy use of black make some of the panels hard to follow. With that being said, the style does lend itself to the small town setting, and creates a feeling of dirt and grime, appropriate for the tale being told. There are so many popular comics on the shelf that many original titles like REDNECK are overlooked. If you want an original story on a smaller scale, with real family tension, check this one out. Stories like this will never find their way to the silver screen or television. Luckily, comic books allow fans to explore smaller tales such as this like no other medium can.