Written by Chris Condon, Art, Colours, and Letters by Jacob Phillips.
There’s a biblical quote of “sins of the father” where one generation's evils are passed down to the next generation. This issue seems to set up a potential sins of the brother. Randy received a call to inform him that his brother Travis has died. Rather reluctantly he goes back to Texas, to identify the body, and I assume to carry on with the arrangements. Informing his wife (I’m assuming wife) that she can’t go with him, that it’s not quite right back there, she wouldn’t understand, and that she doesn’t have that Texas blood in her. Upon arrival he starts to piece together that things aren’t even as they were before, things have changed. Which leads to a dramatic revaluation which shocks him to the core.
Well here we are, issue Number Two. Still a new title and yet things are going really well. I’m fully invested and I love the world building. This is the start of an arc called "A Brother's Conscience", which makes me think I was right in my previous prediction, that this could in fact be a compendium kind of book. Where stories and main characters change, but the location and “background” characters remain the same. This issue gives me more of a Twin Peaks feel, which I can’t deny I like. The artwork by Jacob Phillips is incredible. The pencils are fantastic, but I’m truly in awe of the colour. It amazes me how something can be both, muted yet colourful, realistic yet also slightly cartoony. It gives a sense of unease which I feel is exactly what the team want. This town is the kind of place where if you get complacent and comfy, something will unsettle you or kill you.
This book has quickly become a top of the pile book. When release day comes, this is the first I pick to read. The writing as I said before has a poetic quality to it. Where the last issue was mixed with a dry humour, this is spliced with a Shakespearean tragedy.
Something that I do tend to notice in art is symbolism. Now I could be reading too far into things but one panel really stood out for me in this book.
Here we see our two main characters so far after their initial meeting. Both Joe Bob and Randy are seen from inside the kitchen of the diner. However, what makes this stand out to me is that it’s both characters behind a grate in a room that’s empty. We are looking out to them. Could this symbolise the fact that they are the only two people in this town who are normal? They are both in one form or another outsiders, and so have an unbiased view of what’s going on.
Something else that the team have continued with, was to really help immerse the reader into the world by creating a Spotify soundtrack. Which goes well with the story. This is a fantastic ideal as it helps with world building, plus it gives the audience a conditioned memory. If we were to hear one of those songs in another setting, we couldn’t help but think of this book.
For all the great points to this book, I have one criticism. Although this is issue Number Two, it’s the start of a new arc. So we are establishing characters again instead of developing threads from the last issue. That is a very small issue I have however as this truly is a fantastic book. The writing is superb, to the point where I’m engaged with the dialogue. What would be comparable would be Game Of Thrones. Even points where there’s no action and just dialogue or context, these moments where it seems like nothing happens, so much actually does through revaluations. So this is an issue where it seems like not much happens yet so much is discovered and it’s truly a marvel.
That Texas Blood, Number Two from Image Comics will be released on 29th July from your local comic shop or from comixology