Like the killer in this story, you can cut the tension in this issue with a knife. A nice shiny knife that reflects the killers smiley face mask in it. This series continues to deliver an edge-of-your-seat story with compelling visuals.
From its introduction, That Texas Blood has been appointment reading. Each arc deals with a new mystery in Ambrose County Sheriff Joe Bob Coates’ career, and each is set at a different point in his life. The latest issue helps to cement this arc’s status as the best one yet.
In the middle of a blizzard, the Red Queen Killer is on the loose. He’s already killed once and now has his sights set on Red and Lu in this issue. It’s classic horror and suspense as the killer is in the house stalking his prey while the would-be victims remain unaware. Classic yes. Cliched no. The creative team led by writer Chris Condon and artist Jacob Phillips breath fresh life into a familiar scenario.
It’s Phillips’ artwork in particular that brings this story to life. We see the killer pull a knife out of the butcher’s block, his smiley face mask reflecting in the shiny stainless steel. The killer gently puts his gloved hand on Red’s shoulder, causing the old man to smile, thinking it’s Lu comforting him. It’s a fantastic scene that Phillips recreates on the main cover.
Later as the murderer hunts down Lu, we can feel her fear as he slowly makes his way toward her while crunching through a sea of spilled frozen peas. Each “crnch” ratchets up the tension and transports the reader into Lu’s shoes. It’s a simple, yet brilliantly effective tactic.
The only unfortunate part of this arc is that, as it reaches its climax, there’s only one issue left. The sheriff will no doubt triumph, but the damage to the community and those around him will be done. The only thing left to do is pick up the pieces and move to the next story. Hopefully it will be every bit as exciting as this one.
That Texas Blood #17 will be available for purchase tomorrow.