Alterna Comics 2018
Created & Written by Patrick Trahey
Illustrated by Luis Suarez
Lettered by Martin A. Perez
Fifteen years of relative safety have spared Caleb's son Eli from the harsh truths of the world. Finally face to face with the brutality and desolation that exists outside the farm, Eli comes to the grim understanding of how the "Dead Roads" got their name.
This post apocalyptic western continues to move forward as the three men continue onward towards Chicago. I like the way that this book is structured as their journey moving forward finds them in direct conflict with so many various people. Also conflict isn’t something that has to culminate in violence either, it just has to be something the people disagree on so as to cause a disagreement in thinking. Either way what Patrick does here is pretty great and I like the way the characterisation and the background get filled in here as well.
It isn’t easy to fill an issue let alone a book with such a limited cast of characters and yet it feels like this isn’t a problem for Patrick. The journey on the road is a perfect and lonely place for secrets to be revealed and to find themselves lost in the remoteness of nothing. It really is a great way to get the audience involved with these characters so that they find themselves caring about them and become invested in them long before you realise it’s been done. Also all the tension that we’ve been seeing thus far with Caleb and his wife’s brother well wait until you experience e what happens there!
This really is a deceptively complex story. It has drama, horror and that good old fashioned ride off to the big city to avenge the death of what they’ve known. Only here and now it’s the three of them travelling along this lonely stretch of dead road. Eli left a boy and he’ll return a man and we will see this happen before our very eyes. Sometimes it isn’t the actions that we take which make us men and women but the experiences we go through and how we walk away from the temptations that would lead us down the wrong roads.
I am a fan of Luis’ interior artwork and the more I see of it the more I find myself appreciating the work he puts into it. The way that the page layouts are utilised so that we see the angles and perspective in the panels shows off a great eye for storytelling. I like the varying weights of the linework here and they can go from soft and subtle to bold and angry plus the way that the colouring adds that pop here and there, the campfire for instance, just works really well. We don’t see a whole of backgrounds in use and that’s okay with a story like this one, the open road and desolation don’t leave much room for it.
The pacing of this is really very well done and I like how at times it feels like they’ve been stretched to the breaking point as the men fight and verbally spar around the events that have and are happening around them. The past has a way of coming back to haunt you and when the future is too wide open sometimes poor choices are made and the attempt at keeping ones sanity can be a much harder thing than we think.
This is what the world looks like after it’s over and people have to find a way to start all over again with only the barest of resources. Be prepared to get lost in a future where it’s more recent than you expect.