By Ollie Masters, Luca Pizzari, Adam Metcalfe, Ed Dukeshire
Foreshadows galore in this issue as Jax and Clay echo choices they will later make ten years later.
This issue sets up the long-held precedent of the Sons avoiding dealing with drugs as a single exchange of ecstasy turns into the start of gruesome ordeal. Someone attacks one of the Sons shadier friends for some drug-related feud. As the Sons try to keep the feud from infecting Charming, Jax struggles with the responsibility of wearing the Reaper.
The more I read this series the more impressed I am with Masters’ control of the characters. Granted its only two issues in, but I’m still excited for the book. I mentioned in my review of the first issue how mixed I felt about that ending, but I think I finally understand what Masters is trying to say. He’s trying to show how impulsive and angry Jax is, which could be just his inexperience or Tara having left him recently. It works to show how different he becomes in the show with the birth of his son Abel and Tara returning to Charming. With years to go between now and then, I hope he can pace out Jax’s arc so it doesn’t happen too drastically. Also of surprise is that Piney was Clay’s VP, presumably before Piney’s emphysema took a turn for the worse and Jax was patched in.
Pizzari and Metcalfe are still a dynamic team on this book, its pulpy, gruesome and colorful. For a book that takes place in Sunny California, Pizzari is really good at painting it as a noirish environment with violence brewing under the surface of everyone. I couldn’t help noticing that the MC’s clubhouse and Teller-Morrow motors don’t match the show and I’m not sure if that’s artistic license or just them renovating things ten years later. Other than that, I can pick out each member of the Sons with a glance (Piney, Bobby, Tig, Chibs) with is extremely helpful and shows how detailed Pizzari is in character composition. He’s strong at scene design, like when Jax is sitting with some friends outside of town or Clay and Tig parking their bikes before scaring the piss out of some idiot teenagers. It sets the mood, helps establish the characters and makes the book feel natural. Like Masters, I find myself hoping Pizzari’s in for the long ride on this series.
Masters is slowly building a mysterious new enemy for the Sons to fight and I look forward to reading more. Having rewatched Seasons 1-4 recently, the team’s work here fits almost seamlessly into the world of SAMCRO. I don’t want to jinx it, but so far this is the SOA comic I wanted (I still want that First Nine series in whatever format I can get) but quality wise this series is hitting all the right marks.
Rating: Poor, Fair, Good, Great, Excellent