ADVANCE REVIEW: A character study involving grief in That Texas Blood #4

Written by Chris Condon; Art, Colours, Letters by Jacob Phillips.

We open on Randy's girlfriend packing a suitcase, getting ready to depart for Texas. Meanwhile, Joe Bob continues to dive into the killing of Travis, while Randy gets to grips with his emotions. Will grief get the better of him? Will he spiral out of control? A better question is: what state will his girlfriend find him in? Or will she even find him at all?

This series has been packing some serious punches from the very beginning. This issue is only slightly different in that it’s heightened. The emotional strain on Randy can be seen in this issue, as it’s very much from his perspective, apart from a few pages here and there. I’ve seen issues like this in series before where it can be described as filler. Something where the narrative structure isn’t pushed forward. However this is a fantastically crafted book. Although there’s not much to develop the narrative, we have a character study piece on grief. There’s something about this issue that’s very raw and relatable, it’s incredibly realistic despite being set within a strange supernatural town.

The artwork and panel layout have been great in the series so far, but this issue ups the game by having not just a plethora of stunning panels, they are also arranged in a way that it’s like looking at a storyboard to a movie. Proving somewhat wrong what Chris Condon and Jacob Philips said about the project in their letter in the first issue, about them not imagining it could be anything other than a comic after funding for a film stalled. I say "somewhat" as we are living in a golden age of television. So this to me feels like it would make a great limited series on a channel.

What we have with this issue is not just great art and panel layouts, but also some beautiful colour work by Jacob Phillips too. With a lot of the panels we have some striking colours to highlight what’s going on within the story. Randy is surrounded by neutrals while he is in the initial stage of grieving. Then as we develop, the colour contrasts get bolder and bolder to show the seriousness of the downward spiral. Starting with a truly stunning white background building up to some of the deepest reds I’ve seen in a comic.

I feel Chris Condon’s writing hits new heights with this issue. The book has been masterfully told throughout. Now we get to this, what could be the slowest book of the series so far, and it’s a character study that’s so meaningful that I couldn’t put this book down. Grief is dealt with in so many different ways, yet as I said, this feels so relatable that anyone can understand what Randy is going through.

This is a fantastic issue; we are getting towards the end of the year and I would say this is a stand-out for a single issue in a series. This book can be read on its own without the prior knowledge of the previous issues. With it being a great character study, it’s one that anyone could pick up and get a lot from. I would highly recommend picking this issue up.

That Texas Blood Number 4 will be released on 30th September from your local comic shops as well as comixology

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