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"Road of Bones #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by IDW Publishing

Road Of Bones 1 00

Written by Rich Douek
Illustrated by Alex Cormack
Lettered by Justin Birch
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on May 22nd, 2019

Review:

Do you remember the scenic yet chilly landscape of Kolyma in the U.S.S.R. In 1950? Of course you don't. It was miserable. That's why it's home to a prison. Needless to say, Roman Morozov isn't having the time of his life. He was thrown in this cesspool for telling a joke about Stalin at a party. Now he's battered, bloody, and more than a little hungry. That doesn't stop him from paying tribute to the Domovik, the mysterious creature of myth that's said to lurk in the area. Will this help him or hurt him as he makes a desperate escape into the snowy mountains?

Road of Bones wastes no time establishing just how ugly prison life is. The inmates are worked to death and their sentences are increased for little to no reason, so there's little hope of freedom, let alone survival. Despite this, Roman finds enough time and courage to make his tributes, taking a piece of food and smuggling it under a fence on a regular basis.

We don't see much of the Domovik at first, so we have to wonder if it's even real to begin with. Artist Alex Cormack does a tremendous job of building tension as we slowly start to understand what Roman is doing. When we do see something, it's in small glances, with a horrifically scarred hand reaching out for the food. This fills us with questions as to what exactly we're dealing with.

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Not to spoil too much, but we do get a better look at this thing by the end of the issue and it is pure nightmare fuel. Cormack paces this reveal very well, building it up with small glimpses of gnarled hands or disgusting teeth before pulling back to showcase this terrifying monster.

The detail on some of these panels is pretty unsettling. The skin on the Domovik looks super dry and cracked, so you'll probably be urged to pick up some lotion after reading this. It's important to moisturize, folks. The teeth and fingernails are what get me. The images are too close up and the specifics are so grotesque that it's tough to look at for longer than a few seconds.

Shadows are used incredibly well here, with bits and pieces of this monster peeking through. This gives us just enough of a perspective to frighten us, while leaving a good amount of mystery around its appearance. There's a fire nearby and it casts an eerie glow over it.

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Click images to enlarge

I realize I spent a good amount of time going over what amounts to a handful of pages in Road of Bones #1. This isn't to discount the rest of the book. Writer Rich Douek works to invest us in Roman's life enough that we want to see him succeed. He's living in an oppressive environment and he does not deserve to be there. Since he's basically a normal, everyday guy, it's easy to put ourselves in his shoes. What would you do in a similar situation?

Road of Bones explores a legend, time period, and location that I am entirely unfamiliar with, yet instantly pulls me in. The character development is solid. The story is intriguing. The artwork is second to none. If you thought the yeti was the scariest thing in the mountains, you haven't seen anything yet.

Grades:

Story: Fourandahalfstars Road Of Bones 1 Small
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Art: Fivestars
Overall: Fourandahalfstars

About The Author
Spez Bio 2
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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