Apparently, my mantra on this title is “I really want to like this.”
I enjoyed the first book because of the sense of nostalgia it instilled in me. I missed Jax and the gang; I missed the feeling of truly appreciating an anti-hero as much as I did the “good guys” of SAMCRO. I don’t know that I get that same feeling from the guys as they are written in this book as I did from watching the show.
That is very likely, because this is set in 1996, when Jax is 18. All of them are 20 years younger. It reminds me of the final minute of Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, when Vader steps up on his “legs” for the first time. Jax is a Prospect, and he isn’t quite sure what it all REALLY means. It is a cool life, because it is all he knows and he wants everyone to see how special and cool he really is…but he comes off as a brat. I get it, but knowing the character like I do, it doesn’t really feel like him.
Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Originals #2 picks up the story from Issue #1 with the SAMCRO officers trying to figure out what to do with the drugs they received as payment. Cut it and sell for a major profit or just dump it and get out of the business. They opt for the latter choice, but as is the case in Charming, it’s not that simple. Meanwhile, we learn that all sorts of drugs are making their way into town, and Chief Wayne Unser is relying on the club to keep them out.
Finally, young Jax is spreading his wings a bit and trying to show just how cool being in the club is while trying to convince Opie to ditch school and prospect with him.
The best part is when we see Jax become human for a moment, and a glimpse of who he will become is visible. It was my absolute favorite panel of the book.
The art is spot on. Pizzari nicely captures who these guys are and who they were nearly 20 years ago. I feel like that is the most accurate part of this series. The writing is solid. Masters does a fantastic job of capturing the spirit, and that is a real challenge, since this show was as much about the spoken words as it was the startling visuals. This was a show that squeezed the juice out of every piece of dialogue.
This is NOT a bad review by any stretch. While the series needs the history of the television show to make its stories and characters make sense, the story itself is well told and well drawn. I look forward to Issue #3 and beyond.