Written by: Chris Condon, Art, Colours, Letters by: Jacob Phillips.
Sherif Joe Bob is having a crisis of faith in the people of Texas. He believes that there’s a rotten core, that no matter what, things go bad. He’s haunted by a disturbing case from 40 years ago about “a dead boy and a missing girl” (the title of the arc). He meets a private eye from L.A. who has had some interesting theories and case victories in the past. However, why does the private eye and this 40 year old case still haunt him? Will there be ramifications, or is something nefarious in the works in this small county?
It’s been 5 months since the last issue of That Texas Blood. In the meantime, I’ve been lacking a slow burn great detective story, until I came across Reckless, a book by Ed Brubaker and Sean Philips. This story filled the void that was left by this fantastic series, and now I can say Sean’s son Jacob Philips and Chris Condon are back without the bang, but in a good way.
Chris’ writing style just suits the more long, drawn out form of storytelling. This is something that has been missing in comics for a while, until this serial. The classic detective story, only enhanced by the cool, calm, yet just a little tired Sheriff Joe Bob. Not a character to rush into any situation or judgment, he is clearly rattled by this old case, which could see either a copycat or a reemergence of the killer. Either way, this particular case doesn’t feel like a normal case, this feels personal.
The writing is so strong throughout the issues, that we get to see the build-up of how much this case has affected him. He talks with a priest about it, then his wife, after looking at the clippings he kept in his office. The fact that he kept clippings about such an old case, proves that he still thinks about it. Either he did something wrong and never wants to forget it, or he wasn’t able to finish the case. Both go to show the character he is. Even his wife says it will end up keeping him up all night, which it eventually does.
This is writing at its highest level. The intelligent way that we don’t need to have explosions or large gun fights to keep our interest. This is the character study of the sheriff based in the strange county of Ambrose. We are hooked with the realistic character and well-paced story. It’s truly a pleasure to read.
Which brings me nicely on to the art by Jacob Phillips. We see this book as a character study, where we have great writing, but we also have beautiful and detailed artwork too. There is a large part of this book, in the middle, which has little to no dialogue. The ground work was set to say Joe Bob was struggling with this case. Then we have 8 pages with hardly anything in terms of the written word. We don’t need it, the close-ups and body language given by Jacob says all we need to know about his struggle. I cannot praise this art enough other than say, I honestly think we could have a fully silent issue and it would convey all emotions and interactions without any problems.
Overall, I have without a doubt missed this series. It’s a slow burn of a start, but that’s exactly what the series is based upon, a good old fashioned detective story. Still I can’t shake the comparisons between this and the film No Country For Old Men, but in the best of ways.
That Texas Blood issue 7 will be released from Image Comics on 30th June from your local comic shop as well as comixology