Thursday, December 19, 2013
"There have been some complications."
Tales of revenge have everything necessary to be captivating. There's often motivation, action and even some sentiment, typically around the affected. What makes a great revenge tale is a main character capable of extracting the revenge and a noir feel to it, both of which is on full display in Dead Body Road #1 from Skybound Comics. The issue is written by Justin Jordan, illustrated by Matteo Scalera, colored by Moreno Dinisio and lettered by Pat Brosseau.
Gage is a man with a certain set of skills and the right amount of vengeance required to fully exploit them. It turns out his love Anna was brutally murdered in the midst of a bank heist that ran into some complications on the part of the thieves. Putting him on the trail of Jimmy Stowe, he's opened his own investigation into her death, seeking out those who killed Anna for his own justice before the authorities mete out their own. What follows is a lot of anger and opportunity for revenge on the part of multiple players.
Jordan writes an angry story rife with bloodlust and betrayal. The premise behind the entire story is a bank heist where things went wrong, forcing the thieves to go off book a bit and improvise, which leads to a lot of innocent deaths. The ensuing events surround Jimmy being sought after by multiple parties, something that is very effective at uniting the paths of Gage and Lake's crew. It's a story reminiscent of a ronin story of the past, where an individual with a penchant for getting to the bottom of things is hellbent on doing just that. There are some rather sophisticated intricacies laid out as well, weaving the characters in and out of one another's lives for various reasons.
Scalera's illustrations are edgy, suffusing the book with the right amount of grit that comes with a revenge tale such as this. Characters come across with something of a scratchy tone, ensuring the reader understands that this isn't a book of happy endings. Every panel feels very dynamic, with the characters fully embracing the action being described and really pulling the reader into the action. The car chase panels in particular are amazing, embodying the frenetic pace of what a car chase like that would likely entail. Panels are divided up with striking, bold lines as well, further encouraging the divide between the characters despite their seemingly common thread in the bank heist.
Considering Jordan relies on a rather tried and true plot, Dead Body Road #1 is an injection of fresh air in an ever-growing comic book market full of superheroes. Gage is a very patient man and will likely go to great lengths to ensure his love's death is avenged. The story unfolds at a very methodical pace and really respects the readers attention, both commanding it and inspiring curiosity at the same time. It draws on the simplicity of the narrative to craft a very complex tale of violence and revenge that is a joy to read and promises to be the start of a potentially great series.
Dead Body Road #1 is in stores now with interiors below.