Tony Black reviews Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #2…
Jax says too much about the club to an outsider and risks everything to cover it up, while Clay tracks down someone selling bad drugs in Charming.
SEE ALSO: Check out a preview of Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #2 here
As prequels go, Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original has some exciting ground to cover and this second issue sees Ollie Masters do a terrific job of capturing the tone, feel and scope of the show, while Luca Pizzari’s art matches him in lending the issue a cool, blue-soaked, Californian desert heat to the panels which, like the show itself, lend everything an oily and muscular feeling. The highest praise perhaps can be that reading this prequel feels like watching a lost episode of the sadly now ended TV show, and it fits very well in terms of showing what SAMCRO were up to around this point several years before the first season, and the continued evolution of Jax Teller.
Both of these elements are balanced nicely across the issue. The main story has Clay and the group attempting to deal with the problem of dirty drugs being their payment for a job, which they now need to find a way of shifting out of Charming – especially with earnest sheriff Unser looking into college kids ending up in hospital for taking it; along the way we get neat character moments from Masters, be it Piney’s reluctance to support Clay’s moves, Gemma’s frustration at trying to deal with their legit cover business, or Tig icing his balls after an unseen ‘incident’ – like in the first issue we have the beats of comedy, pulp drama and quite savage, bloody violence fused together. On the flip side, Jax’s character arc continues to grow as his naivety & cockiness come ever more to the fore, showing off about his club connections and then panicking he’s said too much, with Opie remaining his cautious bellwether at going too far – though Masters takes him to a brink hear you fear Jax will tip over by the time the prequel is done.
Fans of Sons of Anarchy are going to absolutely lap this prequel series up, of that there is no question. Redwood Original is layered with all kinds of character points and beats long-term fans will eat up, while still managing to tell it’s own clear, original story which, given the bookending violence of this issue and a dangerous villain SAMCRO look set to deal with, could match what the series gave us. A great issue of, so far, a great series.