Southern Bastards Volume 3: Homecoming by Jason Aaron and Jason Latour. Image, 2016. 9781632156105.
Contains Southern Bastards #9 – #14.
Publisher’s Rating: Rated M / Mature.
This is the latest volume in the best crime series in comics. At the heart of it all? High school football. I know. I’m as shocked as you.
Coach Euless Boss isn’t just in charge of the Craw County High School’s Runnin’ Rebs, he’s also got the sheriff in his pocket and other former players helping him run the town. But as the big homecoming game approaches, a member of Boss’s coaching staff dies, raising tensions between Craw County and its rival, Wetumpka County. There’s a lot of violence and mayhem here, but this third volume in the series focuses on character backstories: the sheriff, Esaw (who wants to be Boss’s right hand man), Boone (a badass, religious backwoodsman out for justice), and Materhead (former Craw County fullback, now Boss’s thug, though he may be having a change of heart). They all come together for the big game, and Latour’s vivid, violent illustrations make it clear that it’s as brutal as any battlefield.
The last chapter beautifully sets up volume four. A marine returns home from Afghanistan. She moves into her father’s house, faces down his bigoted, sexist neighbors, and then heads to Craw County to find out how her father died.