Connect with us
Phantom Road #1

Comic Books

‘Phantom Road’ #1 review: Big rigs and bloodbaths

Phantom Road has the potential to be one of Lemire’s most ambitious horror stories.

Jeff Lemire is a fascinating writer to me. He has his hand in several different parts of the comic industry, and while he has an expansive career with superheroes and supervillains, he still has an important place in the independent side of things. More specifically, he’s known for writing stories such as Black Hammer, Gideon Falls, and many more extravagant stories with the artistic power of some of the best artists to date. It was a delight to see that Lemire had returned to the indie world with Sentient’s Gabriel H. Walta for the new grindhouse horror series Phantom Road, published by Image Comics. For a debut issue, Lemire and Walta aren’t afraid to lean into the grotesqueness of Phantom Road’s mysterious story, but whether or not they nailed the horror is up for debate.

SPOILERS AHEAD for Phantom Road #1!

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!
Phantom Road #1

Image Comics

In Phantom Road #1, we meet a truck driver named Dom who has his world thrown upside down upon meeting Birdie, a woman who was in a nasty car crash along the interstate. He soon finds himself tied to a strange artifact that Birdie’s drawn to, throwing them into a place that almost appears like a sort of Limbo to the newly acquainted strangers. As expected from Walta, he knocks it out of the park, and the great art mixed in with Jordie Bellarie’s beautiful colors allows the readers to step inside of the world of Dom and see what he sees.

The beauty held within the stunning Walta/Bellarie duo is that the smallest details put on the page suck you into the world at hand. As someone who loves their time with Doctor Strange, reading the book felt just like being back in the glory days of Stephen Strange running an illegal vet in New York City. Lemire’s scripting also gives the two plenty to play with in terms of the dry midnight setting we see throughout the first issue. The diner Dom enters, the bathroom, and the simple moments of him driving out on the road all feel like the times when you find yourself driving in the middle of the night. 

Phantom Road #1

Image Comics

 

Lemire’s pacing is a lot slower than usual in Phantom Road, which both benefits and hinders the story all at the same time. We live through the story in Dom’s shoes. He’s going through his nightly drive to North Dakota and we are brought to a slow mystery, but it’s a mystery that won’t appease those looking for a quick answer to the matter at hand. Nothing entirely wrong with the slow pacing but as expressed, it’s a blessing and a curse for Phantom Road

Phantom Road has the potential to be one of Lemire’s most ambitious horror stories. The story establishes two people trapped in an unusual realm of some kind. They’re alone. Alone with some strange artifact that they can’t understand. Dom surely isn’t going back home to North Dakota and Birdie’s place in all of this remains a mystery that we’ll find out soon enough. 

Phantom Road #1
‘Phantom Road’ #1 review: Big rigs and bloodbaths
Phantom Road #1
Phantom Road is a strong start on a bumpy dirt road. Lemire's strengths and weaknesses are both on display, and the art does a lot of the foundational work for the story. This is a comic to keep your eye on for awhile.
Reader Rating1 Vote
8.8
Strong art direction and coloring.
The art makes you feel as if you're in the story.
Lemire's dialouge keeps you insanely invested in the story as everything unfolds.
The pacing supports and hinders the story.
The comic is not for readers wanting a traditional horror comic, nor is it for those who wish for a fast-paced tale.
8
Good
Buy Now

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!
Sign up today
Comments

In Case You Missed It

Full June 2023 DC Comics solicitations: New Penguin, Joker, and Milestone series Full June 2023 DC Comics solicitations: New Penguin, Joker, and Milestone series

Full June 2023 DC Comics solicitations: New Penguin, Joker, and Milestone series

Comic Books

Kelly Thompson's 'Captain Marvel' run ends with extra-sized issue #50 Kelly Thompson's 'Captain Marvel' run ends with extra-sized issue #50

Kelly Thompson’s ‘Captain Marvel’ run ends with extra-sized issue #50

Comic Books

X-Men Monday #196 - Charlie Jane Anders Talks 'New Mutants: Lethal Legion' X-Men Monday #196 - Charlie Jane Anders Talks 'New Mutants: Lethal Legion'

X-Men Monday #196 – Charlie Jane Anders Talks ‘New Mutants: Lethal Legion’

Comic Books

Marvel details 'Marvel's Voices: Pride' #1 promising new LGBTQIA+ characters Marvel details 'Marvel's Voices: Pride' #1 promising new LGBTQIA+ characters

Marvel details ‘Marvel’s Voices: Pride’ #1 promising new LGBTQIA+ characters

Comic Books

Connect
Newsletter Signup