Review - Last Stop on the Red Line #1 (@DarkHorseComics)

"I'm not sure which is scarier...when you see the monster or when you don't."

Riding public transit shouldn't be a scary ordeal, but it has its moments. There are times when careening through the long, dark tunnels where the opportunity for monsters to arise is ample, as in Last Stop on the Red Line #1 from Dark Horse Comics. The issue is written by Paul Allor, illustrated by Sam Lotfi, colored by John Rauch and lettered by Adam Pruett.

Detective Migdalia Torres investigates a vicious strangling on a Boston subway car with no feasible leads. As potential evidence produces dead ends, Migdalia inadvertently takes in a vagrant named Yusef who may have a supernatural connection to the crime at hand.

There's a lot to unpack in Last Stop on the Red Line #1 as Allor is crafting a narrative that's equal parts mystery, monsters and homage to Boston. The issue focuses on Detective Torres and a man named Yusef, the latter helping the former's daughter fight off angry geese; that interaction between the two seems relatively innocuous, but there's a sense that Allor has more in store for them. The bulk of the issue keeps returning to the T and the possibility that its plagued by more than just late and crowded trains. Because of this back and forth, Allor's pacing is a little erratic at times as the story moves from human interaction to monster sightings and this creates something of a chaotic sense atmosphere. Allor's dialogue is pretty straightforward in offering up the interactions, leaving little to be said by the monsters other than standard growls and snarls.

Lotfi's linework does a good job of straddling the line between normal, daily life and subway monster attacks. The characters are rendered with an attention to the folds in their clothes and furrowed eyebrows which give the book a sense of maturity that's befitting of the subject matter. The monsters in particular looks sufficiently terrifying, but Lotfi also does a good job in visually representing the mental state of Yusef and some of the others. Lotfi also arranges the panels very neatly, giving the book a sense of order as it moves from regular to chaos and making it relatively easy to follow along with. Rauch's colors are fairly vibrant all things considered.

Last Stop on the Red Line #1 is a pretty intriguing blend of horror and mystery. What Detective Torres uncovers in her investigation will likely get pretty intense as things unfold and the series progresses. Allor's script is a little chaotic which lends itself well to the overarching story. Lotfi's illustrations are well-matched to the story and do a good job of capturing the terror. Last Stop on the Red Line #1 lays the groundwork for plenty of strange things to pursue--both for the characters and the reader.

Last Stop on the Red Line #1 is available May 15.