Bridget’s Secret History (Redlands #5 Review)

Bridget’s history is brought to light as it intertwines with the history of a young girl who has fought to possess her. But a mysterious traveler is headed for Redlands, are the girls ready for it? 

REDLANDS #5
Writer: Jordie Bellaire
Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Cover Artist: Vanesa R. Del Rey
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Publisher: Image Comics

What You Need To Know:
A coven of three witches, Bridget, Alice, and Ro, took over the town of Redlands, Florida in 1977. In the present day, they act as the law. But the town has mysterious things going on. Serial killers, crocodile men, and many strange disappearances occur regularly, bringing the small town closer and closer to the national spotlight.

Upon her return from an injury sustained from fighting a potential serial killer discovered by Laurent, Bridget has been acting strangely. She digs up a cold case regarding a missing person named Nancy Montgomery. She reveals to Casper, the man who usually works the front desk at the sheriff’s office, that she is not Bridgit at all, but the spirit of Nancy who has taken over Bridgit’s physical body. 

What You’ll Find Out:
A soaked girl stands on the side of the road in the rain trying to hitchhike. A truck driver comes by and offers to give her a ride, asserting that the girl looks like his stepdaughter. He pulls a knife and threatens the girl to get in the back and have sex with him in return for the ride. Unimpressed, the girl commands the man to cut his own nose off and reveals his disguise. He commands the man to drive him to Redlands while taking a bite out of the man’s severed nose like an apple.

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Miami in the year 1984, it is revealed Bridget used to run jobs for Zuzu, a crime lord who runs a local strip club and brothel. During this particular meeting, Bridget has brought a bodyguard, Laurent, to detract from any unwanted advances. Upon delivering money and information to Zuzu, Bridget reminds him they are partners and that she does not work for him. Zuzu is interrupted by a call informing him there has been an escape from his brothel, Sparkletown. A girl named Nancy has escaped, and Zuzu tells the proprietor to chop off some hands in order to restore order and make sure none of the other girls think about escaping.

Another flashback to Salem in the year 1690 reveals Bridget was having an affair with a married man who she thought was in love with her. When he casts her out of his home stating that he could never love a whore, she runs into the forest and asks her father to kill the man, ashamed of her inability to hurt the ones she loves.

Bridget has a vision of Nancy Montgomery and reveals she has been possessed by the girl. She admires the strength and fire Nancy has in order to possess her. Bridget allows her to stay in her body until her revenge is enacted, but if she stays any longer, Bridget will own her. She also warns that if her sisters realize Nancy has possessed her, she will be exercised.

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Ro and Alice sit on Ro’s porch worried for their sister going out the night before without any sort of warning. Alice has a feeling that this time is different than her previous missions, and that something is amiss. A broom falls and Itsy, Ro’s daughter, reminds her mother and aunt that this means a visitor is coming. Ro remarks that they are overdue for a visit from their father and that they should be prepared for that visit today.

Outside Redlands, the mysterious man, assumingly the physical form of the coven’s patriarch, is having the noseless trucker douse his truck and himself in gas, and is ready to give the order to burn.

The remainder of the issue is in the form of the diary of Nancy Montgomery. It reveals that before she went missing, her father had sold her to a brothel. Upon almost a year there, she had attempted to kill herself and ultimately decided to escape. The date of her escape lines up with the date she went missing from the reports in issue #3.

What Just Happened?
Our protagonists have always been on the gray side of things, but we are delving further into their history and their interest in the small town of Redlands, Florida. The major parts of the issue dive into Bridget’s past and paint her as a little less sanctimonious as she likes to act. While these are important scenes, they are juxtaposed to each other in a way that is a tad confusing and disorienting.

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The patriarchal themes of Redlands are ever present. We hardly ever meet a man who isn’t out to get something in an extreme way. Bridget had a hand in playing along back in 1984, but her current ties to Zuzu are unclear. As the themes of patriarchal oppression run throughout the book, it will be interesting to see the girls “father” show up and see what kind of part he plays in the book and in their origin.

The story of Nancy Montgomery becomes even more heartbreaking as we are exposed to more details. The diary entries paint the picture of an innocent girl who is forced to grow up too soon. She endures losing herself, friends, and family all over the course of a year. However, a fire lights in her upon her disappearance and death that inspires Bridget to help her out. Now that Bridget and Nancy’s stories are intertwined, the outcome of the story should be fascinating. 

Rating: 7.2/10

Final Thought:
Ever dark and sexy, Redlands is intriguing in its captivating storyline. Revealing our witchy heroes may not be on the right side of the law is starting to bring into question their true intentions for their little town. As the story arc ends, hopefully, we get a bombshell answer that brings us a little closer to understanding how all these pieces fit together.

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