That Texas Blood #15 ADVANCE REVIEW: An emotionally stunning issue with a struggle for Joe Bob



Written by: Chris Condon, Art, colours, letters by: Jacob Phillips.


ISSUE RECAP: After the revelation that the “Red Queen Killer” was talking to the Ambrose sheriff's reception while Joe Bob was at the crime scene, it’s left Lu the receptionist pretty shook up. As she recalls her memories of Patty, Joe Bob talks to her father. Now he’s got a tough choice to make. Does he keep his county informed about the nationally known serial killer being stuck in the blizzard ridden county, potentially causing a panic, or does he keep them ignorant of the events and hope they remain safe? Either way, the choices could decide his election result.


It seems so long ago since we first encountered the Red Queen killer in the last issue. Again, just another stunning issue from the team where both Chris and Jacob are flexing their artistic muscles. I’m truly excited for their careers going forward. Could they work together as a future crime noir thriller team just like Brubaker & Phillips? I still get goosebumps at the levels of mastery that they have developed in their respective crafts.


Just over 2 years ago in my first review for this series, I compared that book to the film No Country For Old Men (Coen, 2007). So far, no issue has been perfectly summarised by that more than this one. With its long, drawn-out shots (some panels do feel like they are straight from a storyboard), its emotional set pieces, to the lack of action. This slow burn series is exactly what a long form detective thriller can be in this glorious medium that we all care so much about. Chris Condon is doing a fantastic job building up the case, so we as the audience can analyse the pieces as the characters are doing.


I do have one criticism of the writing. Unfortunately, Chris has followed what most TV and film detectives do with blood stained evidence. He has the characters store it in a plastic bag. This is incorrect. The object should be left to dry unless they were hoping to test the blood. Either way it should have been stored in a brown bag, so not to contaminate the blood with growing micro-organisms. I know why he and everyone else does it. It’s because you can see the evidence and it looks more professional, unfortunately it’s exactly what they shouldn’t do. So due to my job history in forensics, that did pull me out of the story briefly, but not enough to not enjoy how good the dialogue is between the characters.


As this issue deals directly with the aftermath of Patty’s murder, we get a lot of emotional scenes. One of Lu talking to an officer about her as Patty’s babysitter, that she helped raise her to be the woman she was. She’s heartbroken about it, and the close-ups of Lu really accentuate her emotion. The words do a great job, but her expressions could do it all on their own. The way Jacob draws faces is so expressive that you wouldn’t need words to tell you how someone is feeling. To that point, that’s exactly what we get with Joe Bob. After his chat with Patty’s father, he walked to the station and then goes into his office to call the federal authorities. With this scene, there’s very little speech and there’s no need for it, as the art expresses everything you need to know about how Joe Bob is feeling. This is part of the reason why I’m so excited to see what both of the creators do in the future.


This was a great issue, and it was at the standard pace of the series. One of the best parts to this issue, I felt, was the struggle for Joe Bob between informing his community of the killer or keeping them in the dark and not causing a panic. If done correctly, this kind of moral questioning can be a great tool for creators to get the audience talking about how they would handle the situation. In a lesser writer, this could have gone a very different way.


Almost a perfect issue, just let down by its scientific inaccuracies, so a very strong 4 POPs out of 5 and still one of the best series out there right now.



That Texas Blood #15 will be released by Image Comics on 6th July from your Local Comic Shop or on comixology


 

Andrew Carr was blessed to grow up watching the animated series of Batman, X-Men, and his favorite, Spider-Man.This started his dive into the comics world, which resulted in meeting his amazing cosplaying wife Imogen. They live in England with their Sinister Six dogs.

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