Life hasn’t been the same since the season finale of Sons of Anarchy. Having spent numerous hours living vicariously through the show’s depiction of sex, drugs, and violence, it’s been impossible to fill what is still a boring void. Until now, perhaps.
Show creator, Kurt Sutter, has been providing oversight on a new comic series from Boom! Studios that explores a previously untouched Sons of Anarchy narrative. Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original will hopefully be the perfect literary addition for any SAMCRO fans and while the first issue wasn’t as exciting as I had hoped, the promised arc will keep me reading on.
Set 10 years before the show, the comic book series will explore the life of Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller as he begins to prospect for his dead father’s MC. 18 year old Jax, having just left high school and been left by girlfriend Tara, hides his vulnerability behind a surly attitude and reckless actions – including senselessly attacking another young man who disrespects him. Redwood Original #1 begins to explore a very different protagonist to the one depicted in the Sons of Anarchy show. Out to impress his step-father and new MC leader, Clay Morrow, Jax is the centre of relationships with never seen before dynamics – giving Redwood Original #1 its own authenticity.
Between a dodgy drug deal and the usual SAMCRO violence towards the last few pages, it’s fair to say that very little actually happens throughout the first issue. However, this issue is not so much about narrative events as it is about nostalgia. Luca Pizzari brings younger versions of SAMCRO characters to life with somewhat caricature drawings. Depictions of each individual, from Gemma to Chibs, demand appreciation. Each panel also demands attention as they breathe familiarity with the show itself, bringing the reader back home and immediately back into the heart of the MC.
The heart of the MC is not the only heart exposed throughout Redwood Original #1. Opie, Jax’s best friend, carries his own origin story as he too considers the opportunity of prospecting for the club. Immediately reminded of his tragic demeanour in the show, I fell in love with his character all over again, only harder this time. Writer Ollie Masters manipulates the audience’s love for particular characters only too well, and more Opie will certainly encourage more readership.
The artwork is cool and detached, a stylistic match for the grey tones so often adopted throughout the show. The merciless violence that is synonymous with Sons of Anarchy is illuminated by daring streaks of colour that sit fiercely against a drained background. A simple yet provocative touch.
The potential of this comic series is tantalising, and although Sons Of Anarchy: Redwood Original #1 gives very little introduction to the wider plot, I’m so comforted to have Jax and Opie back. With the mind of Kurt Sutter weighing in on the series, it’ll be interesting to see the complex origin stories that this prequel will unravel.