Outlaw Nation #2, 3
[Vertigo/DC Comics $2.50 US $3.95 CAN]
Writtten by Jamie Delano / Illustrated by Goran Sudzuka
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Outlaw Nation #2In “Does God Look Down?” Story Johnson continues his trek back to civilization by way of Miami, Florida. He is found “stripped, dry-shaved, beat bloody and unconscious an’ left for ‘gator bait by the highway” by one Pete Mudd, a former Gulf War veteran hiding from life. Things get even more interesting when Story’s half brother shows up hot on his trail.

Issue three’s “Too Much Force” heats up the action with Ruth “Sweetcakes” Hoag as she continues to look for her son, Sundance (Sonny). Ruth runs into Sheriff John Law, a character from one of Story Johnson’s (aka The Drifter) novels and the mystery of the Johnsons only gets weirder.

Much has been made about Outlaw Nation being Vertigo’s next Preacher. There are certainly similarities: British writers on both, healthy lack of respect for religious fanaticism, strong female characters, an affinity for the grievous head wound style of death, a tendency to pick at the scab of American society, and dialogue that crackles with realism on the page. But Outlaw Nation bests Preacher in the sheer scope of its story. Delano is adept at multi-layered storytelling; teasing the reader along with just enough weird shit to keep you coming back for more.

Preacher’s Jesse Custer with his “word of God” was darn near omnipotent. Story Johnson, even with his longevity, looks like life chewed him up and spit him out. Yet he still looks at the world through wide eyes and projects an innocence that Jesse never had. Story’s life is also much weirder than Jesse Custer’s ever was. The past and the present constantly run together for Story and his novels pop up in the oddest places. Sonny doesn’t so much write about his life as he fashions it with his words.

Like Steve Dillon’s work on Preacher, Goran Sudzuka’s art pays special attention to the characters in the story. No cookie cutter figures for him, each character is imbued with their own distinctive look.

You should be able to get this series through your local comics retailer. You can also check out the DC Comics web site at www.dccomics.com for more information on Outlaw Nation.