"Shadow Roads #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Oni Press
Written by Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt
Illustrated by A.C. Zamudio
Colored by Carlos N. Zamudio
2018, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on June 27th, 2018
The barrier between our world and the next protects us from all sorts of creatures that go bump in the night. It's not a solid structure though. There are places called the Crossroads where the barrier gets thin and one can pass through to the other side. That's where a small group of adventurers find themselves and they'll have to fight to stay alive, as well as protect our world from all manner of monsters.
If you had a Sixth Gun shaped hole in your life, Shadow Roads is here to fill it. Writers Cullen Bunn & Brian Hurtt bring a similar supernatural western flair with this title. It has a different feel to it than The Sixth Gun, but has the same top-notch level storytelling. We're slowly pulled into these characters' lives, getting an understanding of who they are and what makes them tick before everything goes bonkers. If you were to pick this up without knowing a thing about it, you might not know it has anything to do with monsters by how it starts. It begins as a western, then adds to it.
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You can most definitely tell it's a western story from Carlos N. Zamudio's colors. The sun beats down on these poor souls as they ride horses through the barren desert. It looks and feels like a bygone era. The monsters are an unnatural addition, so they stick out with different, darker colors. Similarly, a specter that appears is more of a bright blue that stands out from the drab background.
A.C. Zamudio's artwork says a lot with facial expressions. We learn so much about each character based on how they carry themselves and how they react to things. For example, Barry is an idiot. He's a cocky white guy in a time where that's all you had to be in life to be successful. He looks almost cartoonish as he ignorantly clowns around a Native American exhibit in front of Henry without seeing how it bothers his friend. This comes around after they pass through the Crossroads, as Barry is completely out of his element, turning into a bumbling fool.
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Henry is the polar opposite. You have to wonder how these two are friends. He's a stoic Native American who is not easily shocked. When the monsters arrive, it's like he's found his destiny. He embraces it wholeheartedly and tears through them with a special ceremonial dagger he received as a gift.
Barry and Henry are just two of the handful of characters that make up the whole group. They begin to come together by the end of the issue, like pieces of a puzzle starting to form. They're not all in one place just yet, but there's enough movement and development to get you excited for more. This is an awesome way to start a series. These creators know how to handle a western horror comic, so I'm most definitely looking forwards to where Shadow Roads takes us.