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‘Road of Bones #2:’ Advance Comic Book Review

What a man can do, and what a man can't do.

Every choice we make in this life has repercussions, though it would seem on the surface that some people's decisions (e.g., politicians, military commanders, etc.) might mean more than others.  When you look at the number of people suffering in today's world, we're able to point to a handful of people whose decisions have enacted that cruelty, and would that we could leverage the power of our numbers against them.  To do that, however, would require us to give up what is comfortable, to lay ourselves bare for our fellows, and that requires a strength that we sometimes find lacking in ourselves.  On the balance of it, one person's choices can affect entire nations, but ours will always be weighed on our self, and we too often find which is bigger.

The second issue finds the escapees in relatively good spirits, considering the dire situation that they find themselves in.  Though we've met a supernatural entity, the focus returns to the three men and their quest for freedom.  There is a fifth character at large, though, and that is the environment itself.  Sartre spoke of staring into the abyss; it's amazing, sometimes, the lengths we'll go to avoid looking.  Forced conversation, frayed and tense frivolity, and deep-seated distrust contribute to the atmosphere that leads us to a point where the delicate foreshadowing of the first issue come to a glorious and satisfying head.  The final page in the last issue evoked horror but with a sense of patience, allowing us the time of the trap opening before the noose goes taught.  This final page, however, is the rope snapping to attention, our body still in freefall for the briefest of moments before...something happens.  And though we're all pretty sure what the result will be, we have to hold out some irrepressible hope that we are going to be okay.  The play of pacing within and between these books is stellar and demonstrates a true mastery of craft by the creative team.

Douek's story works very well, but it jumps to life with Cormak's incredible talents.  There's a beautiful splash page early in the issue that might just well encapsulate the entire experience of the series so far; it's a truly haunting image that lays out in stark reality just what's at stake.  I mentioned his penchant for ugly characters, and the faces of survival don't disappoint here. Time and the elements are definitely taking their toll on the men, and emotion twists these already rugged features into grotesqueries of the human visage.  Once again, the final panel slams into us, catching the precise moment, the exact still that conveys the story the best.  It's an amazing piece of artistry.

The first issue has already received a third printing, and as someone who tends to shy away from horror regardless of flavor, I can say that I'm hooked in a way that happens only rarely.  This has the early feel for me of Saga or Fables; the potential is enormous, and if they keep pushing us along like this, it will surely be a ride that a lot of folks will want to get on.  Check it out when issue 2 drops tomorrow at your local .

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Creative Team:  Rich Douek (Writer), Alex Cormack (Artist), Justin Birch (Letterer)
Publisher: IDW Pubilshing
Click here to purchase.




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