Vampires in the Old West? Yes Please! (Redneck #4 Comic Review)

Redneck #4

Written by Donny Cates

Art by Lisandro Estherren

Colors by Dee Cunniffe

Letters by Joe Sabino

 

 

The Story So Far:

So I have to say that starting this series out I was a little skeptical do to the abundance of vampire stories that have flooded comics, TV, and movies.

This quickly changed when I picked up the first issue. Redneck is not some Twilight sappy teen drama story.

With Redneck we are getting a dirty, gritty, down south, vampire tale with badass characters and sharp dialogue and conflict.

The first issue introduces us to the Bowman. A family of vampires living in Sulphur Springs in East Texas who are looking to stay away from their violent past and avoid the vampire rage that lies within them.

Instead they survive raising livestock, living off cow blood and of course being Texas, they are running a BBQ joint.

We first meet Uncle Bartlett and his young niece Perry. Right away we get some cool supernatural aspects of their characters. Bartlett apparently fought at the Alamo as well as the Civil War hinting at the age of the vampires and where our story might be going.

Perry…well she can read minds and speak to them telepathically.  The art effect used to get this across to the reader is very well done.

Cool little details are mixed in throughout the book blending vampire lore with Texas Southern culture. My favorite example being Bartlett drinking a “Bloodweiser”, a mix of cow blood and paint thinner.

The premise of this series is that our vampires have had a kind of Hatfield and McCoy type relationship going back to the old west with another local family the Landry’s.

The two families seem to go through a cycle of war and peace and well… things have been peaceful for far too long.

A few of Bartlett’s nephews Slap, Greg and Sheamus defy their father JV’s wishes and head out for a night on the town.  Fearful of trouble JV sends Bartlett out to check on the boys.

 

Spoiler in 3-2-1………

 

This all ends in trouble of course as the boys end up in a bar fight and are then confronted by Father Landry our main antagonist for the first arc.

Bartlett is forced to confront Father Landry when he antagonizes Bartlett verbally bringing up how the Landry’s had killed JV’s wife Meredith in the past.

Bartlett mysteriously wakes up in a drunken haze on the porch covered in blood. Slap the youngest of Bartlett’s nephews is found hanging from a tree burning in the sun. Someone has slaughtered the Bowman’s livestock and burned down their restaurant.

We get introduced to Paul and Evil a couple of humans that the vampires call “Familiars” who help the family with their business and other odd jobs.

JV is saddened by the death of his son, and fearful that Bartlett has killed Father Landry sparking yet another time of war between the two families.

JV tries to hold his two younger sons back from turning to rage as it’s indicated that once a vampire goes down that road that it can be hard to stop.

Holding the boys back is short lived though as a sort of old monster movie lynch mob scene ensues with the Landry’s showing up at the Bowman’s door step looking for revenge.

Seamus and Greg burst out of the basement and confront the lynch mob along with JV, leading us into issue 3.

Let’s just say the Bowman’s attackers are dealt with pretty handily here.

We learn that father Landry is still alive but we are left with the mystery of who killed Slap? What was Uncle Bartlett’s involvement? What happened when he blacked out?

Enter grandpa an apparently ancient and formerly powerful vampire who is kept in the Bowman’s attic. Grandpa has the ability to read minds too.

The art design on the deteriorating figure of Grandpa Bowman is fantastic.

His character is aimed at restoring his family to a time when they did not need to sneak around in hiding and instead ruled powerfully over all of East Texas. He is a bit more manipulative than helpful and therefore does not give Bartlett any clear answers as to what is going on with the whole Slap situation.

Irritated that her involvement has been limited because of her young age Perry has had enough and uses her mind reading powers in an attempt to help Bartlett get some answers. To Perry’s surprise instead of learning more about the present situation Bartlett’s thoughts and the reader get thrust into the Old West of the 1800’s!!  and on to the most recent issue 4……..

 

What You’ll Find Out:

Redneck issue 4 uses the cool effect of Perry looking through Uncle Bartlett’s memories to give the reader an awesome back story of how the feud between the Bowman’s and the Landry’s began.

This is where things get really cool we get an awesome old west vampire story in this issue. Perry intended to help Bartlett search his mind to help answer the question of who killed Slap.

Bartlett instead takes her all the way back to when he was a soldier at the Alamo just prior to being “sired “ or turned into a vampire.

Bartlett deserted the fight at the Alamo due to disagreements with his commanding officers and in the process of escaping unknowingly stole one of the Landry families’ horses.

Bartlett is on the run from what he thinks are military looking to detain him for deserting. He quickly learns that is pursuers are actually hungry vampires looking for a meal. Bartlett is attacked and left for dead.

The attacking vampires cross paths with the Landry’s who are also chasing Bartlett looking to reclaim their stolen horse that we come to find out belonged to Augustus Landry the local sheriff.

A fight ensues with losses on both sides and the blood feud between the Bowman and  Landry families begins.

Bartlett reflects in the present with Perry on how the history of the Bowman family being hunted by the Landry’s goes all the way back to that incident making him responsible for it the whole chain of events leading to this point.

Continuing his memories from the past Bartlett wakes up alone after his attackers leave having turned into a vampire. He tracks down the Bowman’s and is reluctantly accepted into their family. He is however looked at as somewhat of an Outcast by Grandpa Bowman.

Feeling unwanted by the Bowman’s Bartlett uses this as an opportunity  to wander the years on his own until He gets a letter from JV informing him that the Landry’s tracked them down in Sulphur springs and have taken Meredith JV’s wife and Bartlett’s secret love interest.

Meredith is killed and as a result Grandpa heads out to continue the blood- shed.

 

What Just Happened:

With Perry’s help Bartlett searches his mind for the events leading up to Slaps death. Bartlett has a revelation regarding the incident and learns that the Landry’s may not have been responsible. Bartlett and Perry rush into town to stop Greg and Seamus but it may be too late.

 

Final Thought:

This is probably one of the best new comic series that I have read in sometime. The characters, story and art are great and it even managed to get me past the saturation of vampire stories complex that I seem to have! The southern Texas vibe is a really cool setting and you can’t beat a western vampire story.

 

Rating:  9/10 READ, READ, READ this series then Read it again!

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Eric Gahagan