Low Road West #1
Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson
Colorist: Miquel Muerto
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Review by Anelise Farris
Low Road West #1 is a post-apocalyptic story. A nuclear attack has made the East Coast uninhabitable, so five teenagers are forced to travel west, in hopes of finding a new home via the Refugee Relocation Program. But, like every good on-the-road narrative, the trip is far from an easy one. The shuttle breaks down; the kids are stranded; and they are not alright. Their world is further turned upside down when things get supernaturally strange.
This is one of my favorite debut issues I’ve read in awhile. The context is set up through an announcement that is aired on the bus. This allows for us to jump right into the story without heavy exposition and with a fairly good idea of what’s going on. The kids all have unique personalities, and I immediately cared about each one of them. I am particularly fond of Ben, who is a quiet gamer with an affinity for resurrecting dead animals.
The art is bleak but beautiful. The muted coloring with bouts of eerie brightness render the desolate landscape an attractive one. And the skilled shading, energetic linework, and diverse panel layouts really bring this story to life. Jim Campbell letters a lot of the books I love, and here he continues to deliver great, well-integrated work.
Verdict: Buy it.
Low Road West #1 has everything I love in a first issue: solid world building and brilliant character work. Add that to the steampunk, clockwork bird and mysterious house that might belong to “a Gandalf,” and I’m doubly sold.