Review - The Ride: Southern Gothic #2

The Ride: Southern Gothic #1 was a fresh and interesting start of a two-part anthology, establishing some unique, mobster-style stories where things work for some and fails for others. The second part of the series from 12-Gauge Comics is about to hit stores and it's a worthy successor.

"Paid in Full Part 2" is written by Ron Marz, with art by Tom Raney and letters by Troy Peteri. "My Brother's Keeper" is written by Doug Wagner, with art by Andrew Robinson and Toby Cypress and letters by Ed Dukeshire. "Fully Loaded" is written and illustrated by Kody Chamberlain. "The Devil Don't Sing No Blues" is written and illustrated by Tomm Coker and lettered by Michael David Thomas.

The first story is the only one that's carried over from the first issue and it allows war veteran to act in a way that supports his credo of loyalty. The second follows Eli, a Joplin Boy, and his brother Ephram as the two of them deal with a drug dealer with a penchant for pushing buttons. "Fully Loaded" is a look at what is part of a cycle for a daredevil cop. Finally, "The Devil Don't Sing No Blues" is about an affair with the Devil's mistress and motivation to excel with the blues.

Each writer manages to imbue their story with a main character who has a swagger about them. All the protagonists are men who enjoy fast cars and faster women, keeping a unified theme across all stories. Marz made his story about honor and paying back debt, while Wagner tells the tale of two brothers with a troubling sibling rivalry. Chamberlain's story is probably the simplest, but also involves the fastest action. Coker has made the allure of the blues rooted in something far more sinister, creating an art that requires intense commitment from its performers.

The art is equally as impressive as the writing. It's all black and white and there are some varying styles, but overall, it's got a unified feel to it. Raney's work effectively conveys the military background of Jonathan, the man looking to settle his debt. Robinson and Cypress include rather haunting images reflective of a mobster game, with bodies floating in the water, tied to cement boots.

Chamberlain's art is full of panache, symbolic of the main character with an equal amount of machismo and bravado. Finally, Coker's work in the last story presents a fairly terrifying demon and voluptuous mistress, both of whom invoke quite a response in the man in the middle.

The Ride: Southern Gothic #2 is a rock solid anthology primarily about brash men with little regard for their personal well-being. The men here take chances without hesitation, generally confident that, in the end, they'll emerge triumphant. The entire anthology oozes testosterone and it's a sense that really works when viewed as an entire tale. It's definitely worth the read for fans of action and fast-paced storytelling.

The Ride: Southern Gothic #2 is available in stores November 7.