Collective Consciousness Redneck #1

by stephengervais on April 18, 2017

Welcome back to Collective Consciousness, our weekly article where the staff takes one comic and puts it under the microscope. This allows us, and you, faithful reader, to get a good idea of how the comic fares against a variety of opinions. This week we're taking a look at new series from Image Comics, Redneck #1.
Image solicit: “The Bowmans are VAMPIRES who have quietly run the local barbecue joint in their small town for years, living off cow's blood. Their peaceful coexistence ends as generations of hate, fear, and bad blood bubble to the surface--making it impossible to separate man from monster!”
Written by: Donny Cates
Art by: Lisandro Estherren
Publisher: Image Comics
Forrest Hollingsworth
As CTG’s resident Cates fanboy/expert – let me step in here and tell you guys that if you liked this first salvo of Texan-horror, it’s only going to get better. This issue highlights all the things I think Cates really excels at: a deep and cool mythology, worthwhile dialogue, excellent action scenes and deeply relatable personal or family struggles at the twisting, horror and sci-fi laden center. 
With that stellar, grim but versatile art acting in tandem with Cates’ writing, this is a book firing, already, on all cylinders. It takes a familiar trope, age old vampires, and twists it in a surprising way. The ending evoking that same, fleeting but right at the back of your throat, heart pounding feeling that the first Southern Bastards did. 
I’m all the way here for this and I would be surprised if other readers weren’t, too. 
Jason James
Well that was an interesting read. I am normally not really into the whole vampire thing as I feel it's been done to death. I enjoyed this book, it was pretty well written and there was a lot of dialogue so it was a meaty read that took me a bit to finish, which is always nice. I like that it was a vampire book that didn't really have a lot of gore and when there was violence the goriness was more subtle. I really like the art in this book it is a style that is simple without being cartoony. Overall an enjoyable read this week.
Jennifer Lund
Donny Cates is the author of this brand-new Image comic, which is full of blood and vampires and good ol’ boys. He’s writing like he thinks it’s a decade ago, but this isn’t 1995, and he’s not Garth Ennis. And as much as it seems to want to be, this is not Preacher. Lisandro Estherren is certainly creating a visual style that borrows much from Steve Dillon though, with a bit of Charlie Adlard thrown in for good measure. 
I had a bit of a time keeping all of the players straight without a scorecard, in much the same way that it’s hard to tell people apart in The Walking Dead. I’m hoping that the art will improve a wee bit in forthcoming issues. That said, one the things I really did enjoy about this book was the dialogue. It’s clear that Cates grew up in East Texas, as he has an unfailing ear for the sounds and cadences of its accent. I’ll be very interested to see how the “Hatfields and McCoys” family feud angle plays out in the long term.
Kalem Lalonde
Since the release of God Country #1, Donny Cates became a strong contender for hottest new talent of the year. The true test of a rising star is always their second or third book. You have to prove you aren’t a one hit wonder before people can officially say you have the potential of becoming a new a-list writer. I think if Redneck continues to be as good as its debut issue, Donny Cates has a solid chance of becoming one of comics’ best writers. Redneck #1 feels like if Preacher was about a family of vampires trying to escape from their violent nature. I say this because Preacher conveyed the culture of the southern America so perfectly that it became the fourth main character. Cates uses his protagonists internal-monologue to discuss Texas and American history and create a captivating past for his characters that will make any history-nerd (like myself) geek out. However, just like Preacher, being so expertly immersed into the south of America is not the main reason this book is so great. At the heart of Redneck is a story about a family trying to redeem their violent past and live peaceful lives. The fact that Donny Cates and Lisandro Estherren are able to make you care about this family while immersing readers in their world in one issue is a tremendous achievement. Bravo to all involved!
Hussein Al-Wasiti
Vampire stories are all over the place, and it takes a truly good story to get me interested. This is one of them.
Written by Donny Cates with art by Lisandro Estherren, Redneck follows the Bowman family, a family of vampires living in Texas. The head of the family, JV, has sworn off violence for the whole family and lives in peace. They live in a farm and drink cow blood to calm their thirst. Something happens to our main character, Bartlett, as he goes into town for the first time in a while. You should experience it for yourself.
Estherren's art was pretty incredible. It oozed its dry, Texan setting, and the inking work by Estherren himself and Dee Cunniffe's colours solidified its aesthetic. The characters felt detailed and well-written, and their pasts are begging to be explored.
There are a slew of good Image titles, and the best ones need your support, so go out and grab this issue. It's worth it.

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