That Texas Blood # 12: All About Evil
In life, there is never a neat and orderly end. That desire for closure, a cute little knot to tie the threads of events together, is something that can drive a person crazy. Stories are normally a way to compartmentalize and construct events in a linear fashion, where the day is saved and life has a natural conclusion. When the stories reject this model and present something a little closer to reality, where there are more questions than answers, the story sticks with its audience. It permeates and reminds the real world, and it gnaws at the mind, hovering in the fringes as it consumes a person’s thoughts.
This gnawing sensation is at the heart of That Texas blood # 12, which sees writer Chris Cordon and artist / colorist / letter Jacob Phillips close the second arc of the book, “Eversaul 1981”. The problem on the surface serves as a conclusion, ending the work of a vicious cult trying to sacrifice a young child, and sees the evil stop in Ambrose County. Cordon asks Joe Bob to tell the end of the story, providing an exhibit on the fallout from the experience, where the various players are located, and how the city is evolving. Cordon’s framing device comes to an end and we follow as Joe Bob attempts to put these demons to rest, having practiced evil history, then reaching out and checking out this maiden so many years later. On the surface, it looks like Joe Bob put this specific event in the past, but the last page of the issue makes it clear that the damage isn’t done with Joe Bob. Every attempt to close the story and provide a resolution is met with a hostility from reality, where that closure is rarely the case.
Phillips’ art reinforces these lingering tensions, using blacks and shades to add oppressive air to the book’s most cathartic moment, with today’s Joe Bob throwing a stone at the mansion, heart, and house of evil. in Ambrose. In what an artist can draw as a triumphant success against a lingering demon, Phillips presents it as one more ominous warning to come. Phillips goes through various angles and panels to build this moment, and it’s revealing that he chooses to use the full page to render a picture of the dark and gothic horror of the south, rather than the moment when Joe Bob tends hand to horror survivor. They are two sides of the same coin, moving away from the past and looking ahead, but while one side points to hope and healing, the other is a more prevalent feeling of fear. Fear of what went on in the world in ’81 and how it will happen for Joe Bob.