If you are a fan of crime comics, novels, TV shows, movies, documentaries, and podcasts, you need to be reading That Texas Blood if you aren’t already. I saw the online buzz around the previous issues, but to my detriment, I didn’t check them out! On the surface, it is a crime comic, but it definitely has some added spice.
I’m happy to report that this second volume that collects #7-#12 is very new reader-friendly. I think the format of the story helps with the ease of accessibility, being split in a tried and tested alternation between past and present. In the present, we have our main protagonist Joe Bob Coates and his partner discussing an old case. Then the meat is put on the bones via flashbacks to the past. At this point, I would like to point out artist Jacob Philips is a cut above when depicting two clearly different faces for the same character 30 odd years apart.
On the subject of contrasts, there is also the colorwork between the past and present settings that is on point. Most of the present-day scenes take place in a diner, with bright pages dominated by white. Perhaps to convey happy, simpler times. It’s a stark contrast to the rusty reds and browns of the horrifying content of the flashback scenes. The climax revolves around a thunderstorm as a brilliant electric blue lightning bolt takes over nearly an entire splash page, washing away the rust, the murk, and the evil. During the daytime, you can almost feel the sun beating down on your neck.
That Texas Blood is a very wordy comic, but none of it feels like wasted real estate. It is not Claremont’s X-Men. While the story’s content doesn’t really call for a lot of dynamic page layouts, what we do get as a reader are pages and panel layouts that draw the eye and keep you on your toes as you read the dialogue. Chris Condon is very good at shaping a story. All the required pieces are put on the board in the first three chapters, leaving plenty of room and time to enjoy the journey.
For the final three chapters, the tension builds for the characters involved and the reader turning the pages, and then BAM! The climax and room to breathe and reflect afterwards. It is a cliche to say, but it is a page-turner. I blasted through the first three chapters, then took stock before returning for the final three. While the story does have its roots firmly in the Noir/Western, I don’t want to say any more about that added spice I mentioned earlier. You will have to read it and come to your conclusions. With the way the series is set up so far, there is lots of room for growth, and I am looking forward to seeing how that shapes up. I will definitely be keeping an eye on the rest of the series. If you like comics like Criminal, Southern Bastards. TV shows like True Detective and movies like Texas Killing Fields, then you should be picking up That Texas Blood too!