Deep in the Heart (Redneck #6 Comic Review)

As JV and Bartlett face off with Grandpa regarding his unforgivable crime, the mayhem unleashed by the Bowman clan on the townsfolk, has brought the authorities down on their once peaceful farm, and as history repeats itself again, death and destruction ensue.

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Lesandro Estherren
Cover Artist: Lesandro Estherren
Colorist: Dee Cunniffe
Publisher:  Image Comics

What You Need to Know:

Redneck is the story of a family of vampires who have given up drinking human blood and raise cattle on a small quiet farm in Texas.  They drink the cow’s blood and have familiars run JV’s Barbecue to sell off the meat.  An ongoing feud leading back to the days of the Alamo has left sons and wives dead on both sides over the years.  After a night on the town, Pastor Landry ends up badly beaten and JV’s youngest son Slap, his burning remains found hanging from a tree the following day, with evidence pointing to Uncle Bartlett’s guilt, cause the quiet little town to erupt in violence, murder, and chaos.  With most of the town in flames, Pastor Landry turned vampire, and Bartlett cleared of guilt from little Perry’s mind reading abilities, the Bowman family along with Landry have set aside their differences for the moment and returned to their once peaceful quiet little farm where their only goal was to go on living unnoticed.  Yet, there is an impending sense of doom when it is discovered, by JV and Bartlett, that the reclusive yet powerful and sinister Grandpa, responsible for murdering Slap, framing Bartlett, in hopes of tearing the peace and family apart.  It seems Grandpa grew tired of his attic, living on cattle blood, seeing this heinous act as his only way for them to return to the old days; when they fed on humans and didn’t hide their true nature.  JV has had enough, and knowing that consequences will soon be upon them for the destruction and murders; he knows Grandpa must be dealt with; family or not, he cannot be left to destroy their family again.

What You’ll Find Out:

As JV and Grandpa square off, this frail looking tiny old man, much more powerful than he looks, gives JV a real beating, transforming into a giant bat-like beast.  During this climactic confrontation, Bartlett and Perry join the fray, Bartlett with his double barrel shotgun, and Perry using her mind control to hold the beast at bay while Bartlett unleashes round upon round into the monster.  As if things aren’t bad enough; the Barton family’s problems escalate from ‘up the creek’ to ‘going down with the ship’ when authorities surround the house demanding the Barton Clan exit the house or, be forced out, for murder, arson, and the assumed kidnapping of Pastor Landry.  Sensing his own demise, and unwilling to perish alone, Grandpa burst from his attic dwelling of the small farmhouse creating a massive hole flinging wood splinters and glass fragments into the air just before exploding into a massive flaming monstrosity as the sunlight devours his now giant demonic form; all the while, authorities watch in shocked awe and fear, the flaming debris raining down upon them!  This implausible scene is the signal the waiting powers that be have been waiting for as they unleash hell upon the house and those inside; a hail of gunfire erupts, gas and concussion grenades explode, even the destructive rays of the sun now invading their once peaceful sanctuary; chaos erupts within the Bowman residence.  With years of experience evading discovery and masters of escape, the Bowman Clan was prepared and as they have faced this type of tragic event in the past; they set to escaping through a tunnel hidden in the cellar, with dialog foreshadowing impending doom as they may be running towards extended family for help (yes, vampires have extended family too) that may very well share the deceased Grandpa’s morals and ideals.

What Just Happened

The conclusion to Donny Cates first story arc in the Redneck series was done with expert detail and written so masterfully.  This issue’s plot unfolded and held the readers attention with a perfection rarely seen in storytelling these days, sharp as a razor’s edge, Cates is able to give the reader a conclusion and a cliffhanger at the same time, with far less dialog than previous issues, the building sense of doom and tragedy splashed across each page in vivid artistic perfection by Estherren, making it extremely clear and heartfelt that the dramatic series of tragic events that have created the Bowman Clan, JV, Bartlett, and the remaining children throughout their lives have played out once more and the Bowman’s with their once most hated adversary, feuding families of years, one of the last remaining Landry’s, Pastor Landry, now vampire Landry, still hated, yet on the run with them as well.  The story so rich with twist and turns leaves the reader begging for more as its unclear as to where they will go, but it is alluded that they have family, but not the kind you like to visit, and it may be the only place they have left to run.  Only being able to travel by night, and without cattle, blood to feed upon, other questions are raised as to how they are going to survive without giving into bloodlust and we know from earlier issues that bloodlust makes more of a monster out of a vampire than one would already expect.  What we can expect is that Redneck is without question going to be a very interesting read as soon as the next issue hits the shelves.  The team that has put together such an incredible piece of work has me ready and waiting to see what’s next for the Bowman’s and what challenges lie ahead; where there’s smoke, there’s fire, and this series is blazing hot!

Rating: 9.5/10
Final Thought:  All I can say is that Cates and Estherren are the perfect match for this title.  The artistic talent sucks you into the book, and the story bites right back harder and harder.  Its mesmerizing to find a series this good, Redneck is reminiscent of the first issues of The Walking Dead and other now-classic books that are so off the beaten path for comic books which are normally filled with superheroes and supervillains, these relatable, likeable, even lovable characters portrayed in such a realistic manner; I’m dying to find out what’s going to happen next to this family of backwoods vampires I’ve come to hold so dear.  I almost imagine this is what bloodlust must feel like because I’m starving to read more!

Note: The first Redneck story arc will soon be available from Image Comics in TPB for those that weren’t fortunate enough to get their hands on the first six issues!


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