Tony Black reviews Sons of Anarchy: Redwood Original #3…
Jax works in a club warehouse to make amends for his slip-ups, while Clay is forced to make a choice about his leadership style after a gun deal goes wrong.
This prequel run for Sons of Anarchy, charting the formative years of Jax Teller before the advent of the show, continues to impress under writer Ollie Masters. Redwood Original this issue forsakes the plot development threatening SAMCRO to focus more on the character development among club members, though we do get plot elements as the Sons try and prevent the arrival of the drugs trade in Charming. It’s more an issue about the consequences of Jax’s actions previously, and the cod-fatherly response by Clay Morrow as he tries to balance steering the young prospect in the right direction while equally looking after club interests. It all continues to be well written by Masters, who has an excellent beat on how these characters sound and feel.
Clay naturally is worried about Jax going around kicking people’s arse, violently exacting club justice, without any controls and his angry response, giving Jax sanctions, is precisely what you can imagine him doing; it’s a nice call back to the series’ legal porn trade side that Jax is sent to work packing dildos in a factory as his punishment, while Clay doles out the ‘official’ justice against the punks shovelling drugs around the populous.
Jax, with the help of counsel as ever from the wiser Opie, realises what he’s done but still finds some justification in it, and Masters neatly continues charting his journey from untempered youth to the angry, but more tempered young man we later meet. Gemma gets more to do here thankfully too, putting the squeeze on a local crook looking to diddle SAMCRO’s legitimate business, and there’s a sense said plot line could build into something nasty. The cliffhanger is oddly low-key, more suggesting trouble than outright pointing to it but nonetheless it tees up an interesting next issue.
The biggest compliment about Redwood Original is that it continues to stand as almost like a lost prequel to Sons of Anarchy which could fit on the screen. Written with a strong dose of pulp nihilism fused with the kind of skewed family values the show espoused, alongside some brutal and colourful panels, it continues the strong run for this limited prequel series that any fan of SOA needs to have in their lives.