That Texas Blood #17 ADVANCE REVIEW: The art alone brilliantly tells the story in this silent issue
Written by: Chris Condon, Art, colours, letters by: Jacob Phillips.
ISSUE RECAP: Willy tries to get Joe Bob to open up about his deep, unresolved issues about Sam (the old sheriff) being murdered in front of his eyes. He feels that this bottled up rage hasn’t helped, after he unloaded on everyone at the rally of his opponent in the Sheriff election race. Meanwhile the Red Queen Killer is stalking his next victim, just ready to pounce when the timing is right, just as it seems the storm is getting worse.
With every passing month I love this series more and more. This arc especially has been able to depict the true isolation of the town while keeping up a compelling and thrilling crime story. Writer Chris Condon, in this issue in particular, goes by the adage of “less is more”. Personally I find any writer a genius if they are able to deliver everything they intend without actually delivering a single word. In 2002, Marvel did a whole month of “nuff said”, where issues they published were all silent. This latest issue of That Texas Blood reminded me of that, due to the fact that 10 out of the 26 pages were silent (only one word in those 10 pages, on one panel). This reminds me of a point I’ve made before, where classic issues from the '60s and '70s are very dependent on words. Whereas now we have a more media intelligent audience, so there’s no need to spell things out. Despite that, it’s still difficult to get across what you need to without using any dialogue. For this reason, it’s like Chris Condon is showing off at how good he is at not just getting a script to that point, but also how good Jacob Phillips is to deliver point perfect art.
How can I say anything more that I haven’t already about the art of Jacob Phillips? I’m drawn into this story each and every month. It’s a book I look forward to. This arc in particular has been the standout of the three so far: it’s creepy, mysterious and thrilling. The fact that it started with a brutal murder has the audience on edge and even though the buddies aren’t piling up, the intrigue is. A major aspect to that is the art. As I said here, with so many silent pages it allows the readers to stew on what they are “reading”, making this strangely more immersive as it generates more thought. One of my favourite panels is the one above. Where the mask of the Red Queen Killer can be seen in the window. Each issue has had a moment like this, and yet it remains disturbing as we wonder what would happen next.
Overall, this is a beautiful issue that creates more intrigue around the current case, but also allows Joe Bob to vent, which feels more like a confession as he wishes he would have done more in the events that lead up to Sam's death. The silent pages just add to the depth of emotions, with the art doing the heavy lifting. Yet it never feels like a stretch to draw out the emotions of the characters. This demonstrates the abilities of the creative team, and this issue is a shining example of what a great book looks like: 5 POPs out of 5!
That Texas Blood issue 17 will be released by Image Comics on 7th September from your Local Comic Shop as well as 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.