Writer: Justin Jordan / Artist: Benjamin Tiesma / Image
In my continual attempts to read a wide range of comics, I seem to find myself stumbling onto sequel series. This week’s selection is Dead Body Road: Bad Blood, although if you’d notice on the cover, the Bad Blood is in small text comparatively, which is fitting in some ways. As Justin Jordan this is a return to the DBR universe, but it is a different vein and style of story. And while I cannot speak to its relationship to the original, I can say that the story does work as a standalone introduction to a gritty world of crime.
Jordan and Tiesma start the issue with a classic cold open, where a menacing white man who goes by the designation Monk, brutalizes another white man, in retribution for the man failing Monk in an unspecified capacity. Monk sends a mook to shake down someone’s sister for information, and thus the story begins in proper with heavy foreshadowing that this sister is not someone to trifle with.
The scene shifts to a bar, and we meet our protagonist Bree and the narrative starts in proper. And approaching this as a standalone story, the creative team does a lot of things very well. Jordan instills a great sense of tension with the dialog, and the characters feel very natural with their interactions and there is a believability to their actions and responses to the world. Paired with Tiesma’s artwork, we get a sense that the people involved in this story are not “innocent” so to speak but are still well-intentioned people trying to do what they think is best. There are great moments of vulnerability that are then juxtaposed against stellar moments of brutality. In more ways than one, I am reminded of Cinemax’s Banshee and this a comparison I make very favorably.
I think where the #1 falters for me is that there is so much innuendo about what happened that, as a new reader to the series, I don’t understand the context and why everything is shrouded in shadows, and it’s not as readily apparent that this is a follow up series from the get. But, to its credit, Jordan and Tiesma did create an engaging sandbox that does seem to work as a standalone, but only time will tell if that is truly the case.
7.9 “Shootouts” out of 10