Tuesday, December 22, 2020

#IReadsYou: Review HASS #4


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITER/CREATOR: B. Alex Thompson – @ApproBAT
PENCILS: Edgard Machiavello
INKS: Victor Moya
COLORS: Alivon Ortiz
MISC. ART: Cesar Grego and Federico Santagati
COVERS: Cesar Grego and Federico Santagati
32pp, Color, $9.99 U.S. (2020)

Hass is a four-issue comic book miniseries from Approbation Comics.  Hass is written and created by B. Alex Thompson.  The third and fourth issues are drawn by Edgard Machiavello (pencils) and Victor Moya (inks).  Alivón Ortiz is the series' colorist, and Krugos is the series' letterer.

A racial drama and crime thriller, Hass centers on Joshua “Josh” Jones, a freshman attending a college “deep in the heart of Texas.”  First day on campus, Josh falls in love with fellow medical student, Maggie Stewart, but he has to work hard to get Maggie to give him a chance at romance.

Eventually, this relationship forces Josh to confront violence and racism, and to have an unfortunate tattoo branded on his chest.  Before long, Josh is hanging out with Maggie's racist, drug-dealing cousin, Cole Truitt, and his gang of misfits: Eugene “Shamrock” Walsh (also known as “Rocky), Edward Vargas, Randall Gavin, and Warren “Great” White (also known as “Sharky”).

Hass #4 opens with the cliffhanger where the third issue left us.  Josh finds himself in a “Mexican standoff” with a gang of Mexican-American drug dealers … at a redneck honky-tonk!  Josh may be smart enough to talk himself out of this predicament, but when changes come to Cole's gang, he finds himself on the outside.  It turns out, however, that nothing was ever what it seems.  There is a turncoat in Cole's gang, and Maggie and her ailing father's lives are in danger.  It all heads to an explosive climax at Josh's college, and there will be many violent false endings before there is a happy ending.

THE LOWDOWN:  Early in the series, the back cover copy describes Hass as “William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet” meets American History X” (the 1998 film).  Throw in your favorite undercover cop drama-thriller, dear readers, and you will be pretty close to the crazy fun that Hass offers.

B. Alex Thompson is the creator of the long-running indie, comedy-horror comic book series, Chaos Campus: Sorority Girls vs. Zombies.  As much as I love Chaos Campus, Hass is Thompson's best work to date.  He creates a scenario in Hass that allows him to explore various themes emerging from racism, as well as the violence that racism inspires or to which it directly leads.  Thompson explores the consequences of violence and its aftermath, and he also depicts the myriad ways in which racism, prejudice, and bigotry reveal themselves.

Pencil artist Edgard Machiavello was bold and unapologetic in delivering graphical storytelling for Hass #3; he took Thompson's dangerous ideas and kept them dangerous.  For Hass #4, Machiavello presents compositions that deliver on the furious pace of Thompson's finale for this series.  Inker Victor Moya brings nuance to the explosive nature of Machiavello's pencils.  As usual, Alivón Ortiz's colors accentuate the story by bring bright colors to the violence.  Krugos' lettering does what it has to do this issue, and that is to make sure that the story never slows down until the end.

Cover artist Cesar Grego once again delivers excellent cover art for the front and back covers and also drops a nice interior illustration.  This time, Grego's art captures the heat and the heart that define Hass #4.  As I have said before, I have never read another comic book that has explored American racism and prejudice in such a unique and complex way as Hass does.  Bold and different in ways that other comic books would not dare be, Hass is one of the decade's best indie comic books.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Readers looking for bold comic book storytelling and for the very best in comic books will want Hass.

10 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2020 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint or syndication rights and fees.


No comments:

Post a Comment