Advance Review: DEAD BODY ROAD #1

Written by Justin Jordan
Art by Matteo Scalera
Published by Image Comics
Release Date: December 11, 2013

Dead-Body-Road-01This December, Justin Jordan and Matteo Scalera have their eyes set on a single thing: revenge.

Dead Body Road #1 is about the road to vengeance and a man who will go to any length to bring his form of justice down upon those who have done him wrong. Jordan does not give us a lot of detail about the main character, certainly not explicitly, but the primary character is almost secondary in this comic. Vengeance itself is the primary character in this comic and Jordan writes Vengeance very, very well. The dialogue in this comic is seething with rage, dripping with anger and with each page flip the tension is palpable. This is a comic in the vein of the Westerns of old where a character need not really even have a name: his mission is all that matters. The mission is really the story in this first issue and while we are slowly granted more information about the inciting incident that sparks this question for vengeance, the lack of information does not detract from the issue at all. Because the script is not bogged down in extensive world building and setting up intricate back stories for the characters, the plot is given room to simply flow and it makes for a read that is easy to ingest. This is not meant to imply there isn’t meat on the bones of this story, there is, it just isn’t dragged down by too much exposition or character history. We know how this world works, we know (for the most part) what went down, and we know what our main character wants. Jordan also deftly sets up many situations where artist Matteo Scalera can take the ball and run with it…and boy does he ever run.

Matteo Scalera brings some of his best work in the industry to the table in this first issue of Dead Body Road. His skilled hand takes the rage Jordan is pouring into this book and brings it to life, creating a violent and harsh world where there will be no mercy. He does a fantastic job in the action sequences of evoking a sense of speed, and in the calmer moments of the issue he really brings the feel of noir into the comic through his use of shadow. Showcasing emotions from hardened rage to absolute terror, Scalera delivers rock solid art from start to finish in this issue. His characters are easy to distinguish, which is critical for a new book where we know very little about those involved and each has a very distinct look throughout the issue. Scalera does an excellent job of mashing a few genres together to make a unique feel for the book, that at times feels like a noir western with a splash of grindhouse style violence. He takes elements of all three to create a visually impressive comic that compliments the script perfectly.

Dead Body Road #1 is a solid revenge noir with a splash of western in there for flavour. Fans of Jordan’s previous work will be very happy with this offering that features absolutely fantastic artwork from Matteo Scalera. It is the beginning of what could be a standout mini-series from Image and I highly recommend giving it a shot.

The Verdict: 8.5/10


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