Redneck #12 (April 2018)

Redneck #12

Redneck #12 is a great close to a somewhat uneven arc. Cates’s plotting on Redneck has always had its issues. He tends to rush things. This issue’s a mostly action issue, starting with the cops surrounding the vampire house (in Waco, of course).

Cates starts big and focuses in. He’s got a surprise in store; well, a couple of them, but the issue hinges entirely on one of them. Its successful execution makes everything else possible, including giving Estherren some great redneck vampire action to visualize.

It’d be nice if the book were a little more consistent, issue-to-issue, but Cates always seems to have the finale right. And even if he’s reliable in that regard, it’d still be nice for the arcs to read smoother.

But, as always, arc ends and I can’t wait for the next one to begin.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck #11 (March 2018)

Redneck #11

Big reveal this issue of Redneck. It seems like it’s going to kick off a flashback issue, but it doesn’t. It just sets up the cliffhanger (for now); first it has a twist. Then the cliffhanger has a second reveal, which Cates has been hinting at for a while.

It seemed like it was going to be a flashback issue–this current story arc, with the Landrys apparently winning once and for all, is dragging. Cates uses Redneck’s deep backstory to enable some of that drag. But it turns out this issue is a different kind of time killer. The whole issue just works to enable the big reveal and subsequent twist.

Still, it’s pretty good stuff. Estherren’s art is great. Whether it’s talking heads, flashback, or action, Estherren’s able to make it all fit his style, all fit the Redneck tone. It’s not his fault Cates has been padding this story for at least two issues, maybe three.

It seems like next issue is really going to deliver the goods. Sure. Maybe. It’ll still be pretty good regardless, I’m sure.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck #10 (February 2018)

Redneck #10

This issue of Redneck is mostly one of the vampire familiars in an FBI interrogation. Lots of flashbacks to how he met the family and became a familiar. And why he stayed with them.

Otherwise, there’s not much to the issue. Cates takes the action back to the family for the last few pages, to set up the cliffhanger, but it’s filler. It’s good enough filler–Estherren’s art is awesome, particularly in the flashbacks. They’re to Vietnam, they’re to sixties and seventies small town United States. It gives Estherren a new setting; he excels.

The flashback also makes the character–the familiar–more likable. Younger he seems like less background. In the present day stuff, the FBI agent gets far more to do.

Redneck’s a sturdy book. Even when it has filler issues. Cates imaginatively spins his wheels while Estherren visualizes these fast, distinct scenes.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck #9 (January 2018)

Redneck #9

It’s kind of a bridging issue for Redneck. The bad guy–renegade vampire–has his Bond villain moment and blabs to Bartlett. Bartlett’s tied up, but it’s not going to last. Perry’s out of commission this issue, presumably for a return next.

Oh, there’s some stuff with the bad vampire family fighting cops and whatnot, but it’s basically a bridging issue. The payoff is next issue, the cliffhanger was last issue. Everything in this issue is connective… filler.

Nice art from Estherren. A couple good moments in scenes from Cates, but, again, it’s got a circular, closed narrative.

Something about Redneck just can’t support these bridging issues. The series goes one issue too long on arcs. Cates needs structure.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck #8 (December 2017)

Redneck #8

It’s a perfectly good issue of Redneck. It reads a little fast, but it’s a perfectly good comic.

But, damn, do I not like the cliffhanger. Vampires or not, Cates finds a way to put the likable cast members–all two of them–in danger. That danger isn’t the problem. It’s the balls Cates has going in the air. There’s the hard cliffhanger, but then there’s also a soft one with one of the supporting cast. It might make a big difference, it might not. Cates just doesn’t make the plotting click with the pacing. He cliffhangs when the reader is most engaged, but never for the reader (or the comic’s benefit).

Great art this issue. Estherren gets to do a lot of movement, so there are a bunch of great panels. He doesn’t try for so much detail in his action panels, making them a lot more visceral. He goes for mood.

Redneck’s a good comic. It’s just darn annoying having to wait for the next issue.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck 7 (November 2017)

Redneck #7

Redneck starts its second arc jumping eight months ahead from the previous issue. The family is in hiding. JV is on guard duty 24/7, Bartlett is on punishment (of sorts), Perry is cheating at cards. New vampire Landry is learning the ropes but still not particularly welcome.

There’s a lot of exposition in the comic. Lots of vampire information. Not a lot of personality though. Bartlett narrates but without having anything to do in the comic, except chastise Perry once and pal around with Landry.

It’d probably be more engaging if Estherren’s art weren’t all of a sudden kind of lazy. His style hasn’t changed, he’s just not keeping the energy up with some of it. But he’s still great on other stuff. It’s uneven in a way he’s never exhibited before.

In just six issues, Redneck has gone from being exciting to not to exciting again to not again. This arc is off to a not exciting start.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck 6 (September 2017)

Redneck #6

Redneck finishes its first arc with a whole lot of exposition. Cates basically uses the final third of the comic to do a pitch for the next arc, without revealing anything about it except who’s going to be in it.

Estherren does get a nice action scene to do, but not even all of it. The action moves off-panel pretty quick. It’s nice art throughout, even during the setup stuff.

Once again, an ongoing indie is ending an arc with a soft reboot of the comic itself. We’ll see if Cates can keep Redneck going. Luckily, Estherren will always be able to make the art work right.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck 5 (August 2017)

Redneck #5

Cates brings Redneck around almost immediately in this issue. He gets the sense of urgency back. He gets the character dynamic back–Bartlett needs someone to talk off, it doesn’t work with the kid. It’s like Cates needs there to be conflict to get character development. Great art from Estherren; Redneck’s exciting again.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

Redneck 4 (July 2017)

Redneck #4

A flashback issue. Vampires in the Old West. Only, not much of them because–besides an initial battle scene, with the characters narrating from the present–Cates writes the rest of it as summary. It’s all right–great characterization for the narration–but it doesn’t give Estherren much to do. Western adventure it isn’t. Turns out Cates isn’t ready to give away any secrets–something the characters talk about way too much–and it’s all setup for revelations next issue. It’s solidly produced, but mostly show, no substance.

CREDITS

Writer, Donny Cates; artist, Lisandro Estherren; colorist, Dee Cunniffe; letterer, Joe Sabino; editors, Arielle Basich and Jon Moisan; publisher, Image Comics.

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