Some strong character-revealing moments along with artwork so strong that it requires no text highlight this issue. The series creators are thankfully still firing on all cylinders halfway through the series’ third story arc.
After more than a dozen issues of That Texas Blood, readers have had the opportunity to learn more about Ambrose County Sheriff Joe Bob Coates at different points in his life. He’s a brave, honest man who takes his role – whether as a young patrolman in the 1980s or grizzled veteran in more modern times – very seriously. But it is in this latest story arc set only a few years after he became sheriff, that his is showing a different side.
Not that you could blame him. With a blizzard bearing down on the county, a serial killer who has taunted the authorities after lopping the head off a young woman and an upcoming election, Coates is pushed to the brink.
But his better angels take over. When the sheriff’s receptionist shuts down after seeing a murder scene photo, Coates takes the time to calm her and give her the rest of the day off. And instead of lashing out at his political enemy – a politician who is all style and no substance – Coates calmly but firmly shames his opponents’ supporters into giving him the information he’s looking for. It’s a shrewd move that highlights the difference between the candidates.
It’s a testament to writer Chris Condon’s abilities that after more than a dozen issues, the central character of the series seems so complete and yet so mysterious at the same time. Joe Bob Coates is not your typical comic book character, and that is exactly why he’s so compelling.
Artist Jacob Phillips fills the issue with plenty of eye candy, from the blizzard’s white-out conditions to a political rally featuring Coates’ over-the-top rival. But a few differing moments stand out. The first comes as Lu, the receptionist, finds the crime scene photos. She collapses to the floor under the weight of the terror she’s witnessed. The other is a would-be jump-scare moment featuring the killer. In both cases, no text is necessary. The images are all we need to tell the story.
That Texas Blood #16 will be available for purchase on August 3, 2022.