There have been a number of incarnations of Vigilante over the years at DC. The two most significant were Greg Saunders, the Prairie Troubador and urban cowboy, and Adrian Chase, the personally tormented blood thirsty avenger.
Vigilante Southland #1 introduces Donny Fairchild, a former athlete gone to seed, and weed. Not a likely prospect for a super-hero or an avenger in any way.
Gary Phillips takes his time unfolding this story. There are a number of mysterious and shady characters hovering around the edges, and though Donny is totally accepting of the explanation that his reporter wife’s death was accidental, we see there is much more to it. And as the tale progresses, so does Donny.
Elena Casagrande’s art is top notch throughout. I like the design of the Vigilante costume, although at the moment it only appears on the cover. It has echoes of Adrian Chase’s outfit.
And it makes sense to me that there would be some attempt to revive the Adrian Chase version right now, as his character has been introduced in the current season of Arrow. Mercifully, they have chosen to leave him be dead, rather than digging the tormented soul out of his grave.
But the signs of reviving a Chase-like Vigilante makes me feel bad for poor Donny. Things are likely to get an awful lot worse for him.
At its best, the Adrian Chase Vigilante series served as a commentary on the increasingly violent culture emerging in the US during the late 80s and early 90s. It’s certainly a topic that bears further exploration today!