Redneck #1 Review
Written by: Donny Cates
Art by: Lisandro Estherren & Dee Cunniffe
Published by: Image Comics
I only discovered the work of Donny Cates earlier this year, with the release of God Country #1. My love for that book has been well documented on this site, and Comics Dash, the comics podcast I host. When I saw Redneck #1 in my email, I was excited. But also a little worried, y’know? Like, was God Country a one-hit wonder, so to speak?
This issue dispels nearly all of those fears. The writing feels familiar, in a way. Not derivative, but Cates definitely has a style that he works in. As with God Country, he also works with an artist and colorist that fit that style perfectly.
The artwork in Redneck is incredibly moody. Lisandro Estherren’s work here is excellent. It’s filthy, but in the same way that the first season of True Detective was filthy. It establishes a tone. It’s also incredibly effective at conveying information about the setting and conditions the characters are living in.
Dee Cunniffe’s colors are, of course, incredibly important as well. Tonally, they fit with what Estherren is drawing and Cates is writing. He brings the shadows and the darkness to life.
At least for this issue, I would argue that the art and colors are actually more important than Cates’ writing. Of course, the three fit together perfectly, but this issue feels more like a tone piece than anything else. And that’s perfectly fine–it’s what a lot of first issues should be.
That isn’t to say there’s no character work or set up for the plot. On both of these fronts, Cates does excellent work. Although the book meanders a bit for the first three quarters, the pace quickens towards the end as Cates begins to establish the intrigue.
Before this point, he spends a couple scenes introducing each of the characters. Again, the brief moments they each get are more tone pieces than anything else. They act as presentations of who these characters are, rather than really delving into them.
The exception is Bartlett, who we spend most of this issue with. At least for the time being, the story is unraveling from his point of view, so he ends up monologuing a bit. The device that Cates uses to justify the monologuing, by the way, is pretty brilliant. It explains away the awkward fashion some of it is written in, and it took exactly one line of dialogue to establish. Take notes, other comic book writers.
Redneck #1 is, for the most part, exactly what a first issue should be. It’s a tone piece that sets up some intrigue, with a few character moments tossed in so we know who we’re going to be reading about. It’s incredibly well done.
- The art and colors are phenomenal
- Character introductions are well handled
- Establishes some coolintrigue
- The monolgue/exposition dumps are at times a bit much