My journey in diving into other comic books outside of DC Comics and Marvel continues. This includes exploring comic books outside the superhero genre. The newest Image Comics series, Phantom Road by Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire, is one that caught my eye. The preview for Phantom Road #1 caught my interest as something completely different from the comic books I’m reading. Now I got a chance to check out an advance copy of the first issue. Find out how it turned out with my review of Phantom Road #1.
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Gabriel H. Walta
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Steve Wands
Phantom Road #1 delivers exactly what I was looking for from what I thought this series would be based on the preview. Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire establish a tone of unknown with what the story or setting will be about. That sense of loss with the environment is where Phantom Road #1 excels.
Starting out with one of our leads, Dom, going about his work as a long haul trucker does set things up as this just being a normal world. You aren’t led to believe there is going to be some strange trip that you are about to experience as a reader. Lemire, Walta, and Bellaire get you into this mindset with the way Dom interacts with everyone he meets.
This leads to a look into who Dom is that portrays him as not the typical protagonist. How his job as a long haul trucker works into his home life does not paint him in a great light. Lemire’s writing along with Walta and Bellaire’s artwork creates discomfort with this scene between Dom and others in his life. That discomfort further gets you engrained into the world that has people just living out their daily lives.
In doing so when the story in Phantom Road #1 does flip when Dom meets Birdie by happenstance it is as jarring to you as the reader as it is to Dom and Birdie. That flip shows how the story got you bought into what happened before the story took this direction. In the process the horror elements that are brought into play work even better to create an aura of unease with what happens with Dom and Birdie.
As great as Lemire is at writing all of the characters Walta’s artwork, along with Bellaire’s coloring, is what brings Phantom Road #1 to life. Admittedly the art style isn’t one that I normally get into but works for the direction this series is taking. Walta and Bellaire capture the tone that Lemire is going for with each scene in which Dom, Birdie, and the other characters are involved. The shift in tone helps get over how crazy things get by the end of this first issue.
From where it starts to how it ends Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire create a comic book you get lost in with Phantom Road #1. If you’re a fan of supernatural horror this is a comic book you don’t want to miss picking up.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10