Saturday, 8 November 2014

Men of Wrath #2 Review (Jason Aaron, Ron Garney)

Ruben Rath has fallen in with some bad people who’ve hired a dangerous man called Ira to kill him. Except Ira is Ruben’s dad. And while Ruben’s outrunning the cops, Ira’s in Ruben’s house with his pregnant lady… 

One of these days I’m gonna have to visit the American South. I have to see if its as intense as the stories - and not just Jason Aaron’s - make it out to be; a place where humans and animals, life and death, nature and instinct swirl together in a heady melange. 

There’s something very primal about Men of Wrath. The second issue opens with a rabid man murdering his family, his many dogs wandering free throughout his house, before he staggers outside where he sees his last living son - holding a gun and blowing his brains out. And that’s not even the only shotgun-shell-to-the-head execution in this comic! 

Most of this second issue reveals how Ruben became the target of some bad people and builds to an intense situation where Ruben has to decide not just his future but a kid’s. And this being a pitch black story, things do not go well for anyone. That said, the series is based around the idea of the Rath family being cursed with violence, generation after generation and Ruben looks to be the one who breaks the cycle. 

In Aaron’s world, it’s a terrible and tough place to be a man. Fathers and sons, other men, they all treat each other shockingly. Guns, blood and pain are the answers most of the time, as if these are the only accepted methods of male relationships! What’s even scarier is a lot of these side stories of the Rath family are based on actual stories from Aaron’s family. Suddenly Aaron’s intensely dark comics make a lot more sense! 

Men of Wrath #2 is incredibly violent and depressing but it really keeps your full attention the whole way through. It’s Jason Aaron at his most compelling and Men of Wrath is an absolute must-read for his fans but especially for those who loved his Vertigo series, Scalped. If Cormac McCarthy wrote a comic, it wouldn’t be Men of Wrath, but it’d be damn close to it! 

Word of warning: if you like horses, you might want to skip this one…

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