Dead Body Road

Dead Body Road
Dead Body Road review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Image Comics - 978-1-63215-047-9
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2014
  • UPC: 9781632150479
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Dead Body Road opens with scenes of a bank robbery going about as wrong as possible, leaving police dead, crooks dead and one hell of a mess. Among the dead police is the wife of Orson Gage, former lawman, now not far removed from the Punisher on a mission of revenge. That’s one complication for the surviving crooks, with the other being they don’t trust each other, and are now splintering into factions in order to acquire the real reason the robbery took place.

What Dead Body Road has going for it from the first page is the fantastic scratchy art of Matteo Scalera. His character designs tell you all you need to know about someone, and he’s expressive as they explode into action. This is in fully realised locations with a few stylish touches. Gage’s vintage car is presumably from writer Justin Jordan, but you can smell the sweat in the biker’s den and feel the grease on the plates in the diner. It’s a full process experience delivered by Scalera, and the mid-story car chase with complications is broken down phenomenally well over spreads. Who needs a cinema screen when you have Scalera?

Jordan’s crime script thrives on the atmosphere. He takes a Tarantino stance on a crime that spins out of control, and the portions never look remotely like being put back neatly in the box. Gage is a big brutal lump, a description equally applicable to several others, and it takes his former partner to point out his limitations as his plan goes as disastrously wrong as the original bank job. Any reader of crime fiction is going to predict things are headed toward the confluence of Hell and handbasket, but it doesn’t diminish the thrill of seeing it play out and the only question remaining is figuring out who’ll survive.

Someone must as there’s a sequel, Bad Blood.