Advance Review: ‘Dead Body Road’ #1

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With a gritty atmosphere and an intricate plot, “Dead Body Road” #1 has a string of tough-talking characters, snappy dialogue, and pulpy humor. This is a page-turning crime thriller that lives for a high body count. Justin Jordan looks to have another hit with “Dead Body Road”.

WRITTEN BY: Justin Jordan
ART BY: Matteo Scalera
PUBLISHER: Image Comics
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASE: Dec. 11, 2013

During a heist, Jimmy just hit the jackpot and is about get away scot-free. All of a sudden, Jimmy hears loud gunshots from the floor below him. As another crime takes place, Jimmy discovers a room full of dead bodies and gunmen wearing gas masks. Elsewhere, Orson isn’t dealing so well with the tragic loss of Anna. After making a regular life for himself, Orson now has to return to the crime underworld he once tried to forget. The cops and mobsters will not get in Orson’s way as he seeks revenge against the man who killed Anna. But when Jimmy and Orson cross paths, no one will be spared alive.

Writer Justin Jordan has done a great job with the gritty characterizations of his ensemble cast. Orson is an ex-con who just wants to live a regular, uneventful life, but that’s impossible with Anna gone. Jimmy is a low-level womanizer and jokester, who ends up being the witness of a cold-blooded murder. Though he is a good cop, Jack might have to look away and turn a blind eye, knowing full well what is going happen next. Then, there are criminals worse than Orson and Jimmy, who don’t have an ounce of redeemable quality inside them.

What I really enjoyed about Jordan’s nonlinear structure is how everything fits together. Jordan makes a reference to the bloody massacre in the opening pages through a picture. The transitions between past and present run smoothly as the multiple subplots intertwine. Jordan adds back-story in the unlikeliest places, especially when the action is pumped up. The narrative starts with a shocker and ends with one too.

Matteo Scalera’s artwork depicts a seedy underbelly where criminals are rotten to the core and victims are tortured. Scalera is utterly unflinching when it comes to the graphic violence. Scalera wants you to see the women’s throat get sliced with a blade, with all the blood in the air. You will squirm when Scalera illustrates a guy getting stabbed in the stomach in an extreme close-up.

A major highlight of the narrative, the high speed car chase is impressively cinematic. We get the tires spinning, the cars swerving crookedly, and the desert landscape in the background. Keeping up with the quick pace, Scalera illustrates a sports car being flipped over in different angles. In a carefully constructed sequence, Scalera keeps the camera on the car flying in mid-air to when the vehicle crashes upside-down.

An excellent start, “Dead Body Road” #1 is difficult to put down once you get started. I can’t wait to see what happens next in the series.

4.5/5 skulls

Reviewed by – Jorge Solis