Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Gabriel H. Walta
Colourist: Jordie Bellaire
Lettering & Design: Steve Wands
Editor: Greg Lockard
Publisher: Image Comics

Back in 2019 Jeff Lemire and Gabriel H. Walta collaborated on a book for TKO named Sentient, and this may come as a shock but like most things Jeff Lemire everyone at Bigger Than Capes liked Sentient a lot. So another comic from the duo was pretty hard to resist.

Phantom Road #1 has an immediately different aesthetic to Lemire and Walta’s previous work together, presenting us with a long haul truck driver by the name of Dom, the lonely highway, and some supernatural goings on.

The opening pages of the issue introduce us to Dom, and give us a little insight into his life, both on the road and at home, before he encounters the aftermath of a car accident caused by a piece of strange debris on the road.

The only character we really get a feel of in this issue is Dom, and although we don’t get a full picture of who he is just yet we get a good look at his work life and a little glimpse into his less than perfect home life. Off the bat he isn’t the most relatable person, but in keeping with Jeff Lemire’s usual character work, Dom feels well rounded and understandable even if you can’t necessarily imagine what it’s like to be him. Our second protagonist is a little bit more of a mystery at this point and I look forward to learning more about her and seeing how the dynamic between her and Dom develops.

Gabriel H. Walta’s artwork in this issue is very in keeping with his previous work; gritty, detailed and slightly on the cartoonish side. The character designs are relatively straight forward and down to Earth, but each feels individual and considered in their design. Walta’s use of facial expressions are simple and exaggerated but they do a great job of conveying emotion particularly the panic and shock towards the end of the issue.

Jordie Bellaire’s colouring adds a great amount to Walta’s already impressive artwork. The changing colour palette between different locations gives a great feeling of movement within the world and shifts the energy between each place shown. 

This first issue doesn’t give too much away, and honestly I was surprised when I reached the end of the issue, I was just sure there was going to be more of it and perhaps more importantly, I wanted more of it. It’s an intriguing start to the series and I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead.

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