Written by Chris Condon; Art, Colours, Letters by Jacob Phillips.
Randy contemplates his next actions carefully, while Joe Bob makes some startling revelations in the case of Travis’ death. Who is actually responsible for Travis’ untimely demise? Is Randy too far gone to save?
We reach the final issue in the current arc, “A Brother's Conscience”. This has been a truly fantastic ride. Although each issue has not been action-packed, we have an arc that’s been slow burning and thought provoking in the best ways. In a previous review I remember comparing it to a Coen brothers film similar to No Country For Old Men, this seems especially appropriate in this issue with the high drama, dry wit of certain characters, and the heartache felt for each of them, as they consider their future.
Chris Condon’s writing throughout the book has been stellar. Knowing when to draw out a dramatic pause is a gift and he works it to great extent. This causes the reader to ponder the characters' emotions and their mental states as each of their decisions weighs on them and now crafts the consequences.
This murder mystery set in Texas just oozes class. The depth of characters on display is wonderful and also excruciating at times; often I felt like I was shouting at characters not to do things or to do things differently. At this point, when you have your audience fully engaged, as a writer you know you have the answer that you’ve done something right. Joe Bob and Randy are perfectly created, so that Joe Bob is the well meaning sheriff of the small town who wants to do what’s best, friendly yet never feeling out of his depth when dealing with such nefarious instances. Randy on the other hand is the tortured soul who starts the depressing deep dive into his childhood and wants to exact revenge on the person who killed his brother. He transforms in front of our eyes from the grieving brother who needed to deal with his past, to a shell of his former self, just out for one thing. We can’t blame him too much for what he’s going through despite at each point we see it’s the worst thing for him. Ending up as a lost soul, doomed to spend his life in the place where he didn’t went to stay…”home.”
Jacob Phillips' artwork has also been fantastic throughout, yet this issue heightens every emotion seen. As you can see from the above panel, which is part of a silent full page, Philips allows his artwork to do a lot of the “talking”. It’s light on dialogue because we have been on this journey with the characters for five issues now. We know what they are thinking and it’s pushed here with some beautiful artwork, that fully displays exactly what each character is thinking. Here, the old adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” makes each panel feel like it tells a story. Despite it being rather light on dialogue, it still feels dense with emotion and character development, which highlights just how impressive the artwork is.
Overall this series has been a joy to read. I cannot recommend this book enough to anyone who enjoys a good crime thriller, or just enjoys great storytelling with fantastic artwork. The only thing that I have to be slightly disappointed by, is the fact that there’s no official date for the start of the next arc yet. In a post-issue column Chris Condon says that they are taking a break. He explains “we will see you shortly, it won’t be next month, unfortunately, but we’ll be back.”
That Texas Blood #6 from Image Comics was released on 2nd December from your local comic shop as well as comixology