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Phantom Road Main

Phantom Road #1 Comic Review

Written by Joel Harley

Published by Image Comics


Written by Jeff Lemire
Illustrated by Gabriel H. Walta
Coloured by Jordie Bellaire
Lettered by Steve Wands
2023, 29 pages
Comic released on 1st March 2023


Part solemn odyssey through grief and trauma, part gory horror comic about a trucker hoofing demonic entities in the head with a crowbar, Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Joker: Killer Smile, Little Monsters) returns with this supernatural series, illustrated by Gabriel H. Walta and Jordie Bellaire.

Constantly moving so as to belay memories of his tragic past, easygoing trucker Dom is confronted by less metaphorical demons when he stops to help car crash victim Birdie. Transported to a vast desert landcape containing a crumbling road, his truck, and not much else, Dom and Birdie find themselves pursued by the demonic denizens of this strange new word. Luckily for them both, Dom's trusty crowbar is here too.

Click images to enlarge.

Phantom Road #1 drops Dom and Birdie in to its surrealist desert-scape without much ado; a nifty prologue whets the appetite before circling back to meet Dom, hours previously. Another quick flashback seeds a few hints as to Dom's tragic past, and then we're off to a world of grey skies and even greyer monsters. The what and why of it all remains to be seen, but this is a compelling introduction to Lemire's world(s) and its two lead characters.

Illustrator Walta and colourist Bellaire do great work in differentiating between the two worlds - thick, heavy brushstrokes and full-colour for ours, washed-out and faded for the desert realm. Walta's characters are suitably expressive - the story requiring several variations on shocked and scared, plus a sinister weirdo in a public bathroom. Meanwhile, the monsters are enjoyably creepy and menacing, in a modern Doctor Who kind of way.

The journey from here isn't entirely clear (road trip, anyone?), but those picking up to see a sad trucker hoofing demonic entities in the head with a crowbar surely won't be disappointed.


Story: Fourstars Cover
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Art: fourstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

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About The Author
Joel Harley
Staff Reviewer - UK
Haribo fiend, Nicolas Cage scholar and frequently functioning alcoholic. These are just some of the words which can be used to describe Joel Harley. The rest, he uses to write film criticism for Horror DNA and a variety of websites and magazines. Sometimes he manages to do so without swearing.
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