Review: ‘Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1’ – Some Pasts Don’t Die
by Malissa White
Within each of us exists a part that wants, sometimes desperately, to leave the past behind. Easier said than done. More often than not, it finds a way to out itself. Because we’ve carried it with us into that new place, stowed it away in a secret compartment. Or in some cases, beneath the bar. Bree Hale’s past wound its’ way back into her life, heralded by her brother, for better and worse. In her case, for much, much worse.
Justin Jordan’s Dead Body Road returns much like Bree does: violently and with a bang. The first issue follows Bree Hale settled in her new life behind the bar at The Country Squire content to keep the peace. Until she finds herself at odds with a local crime boss when her good-for-nothing brother gets put in his cross hairs. The life she left behind comes screaming back, proving that some pasts don’t stay buried long. Bad Blood is a completely new run within the larger Dead Body Road series, so there’s little risk of getting completely lost if you’re new to the series.
This time, artist Benjamin Tiesma heads the series in an interesting visual direction. Scratchy lines create a grainy, worn texture to the settings and faces. These places (and people) are battle worn, but intact. Fine dotting and detail gives the comic a grainy effect, as if watching a VHS of our favorite crime dramas. It’s that texture that adds grit to Dead Body Road: Bad Blood, and sets the scene as one inspired heavily by rural Pennsylvania’s Appalachian parts.
Colorist Mat Lopes’ use of golden yellow on Bree is a fine choice against the moonlit blues. The color evokes stained wood, honey blondes, and fire. Sentiments Lopes plays on well to draw the comic together in the final page. No spoilers, of course. You’ll just have to see for yourself.
I know what to expect here, though I suspect Spread writer Jordan has some touching character development up his sleeve. Fans of Justified and Banshee with a taste for Elmore Leonard’s brand of crime thriller will greatly enjoy the series.
Published under Image’s Skybound imprint, Dead Body Road: Bad Blood is written by Justin Jordan with art from Benjamin Tiesma, colors by Mat Lopes, and letters by Pat Brosseau. Cover art is by Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio. Find it on Comixology, Image Comics, or at your local retailers.