‘Last Stop on the Red Line #1:’ Advance Comic Book Review

Comic books are not movies, but that doesn’t mean they are not cinematic. The creative team behind Last Stop on the Red Line understands this, and, as a result, they immediately take their audience on a cinematic joyride pulsing with electric energy. Take for example this page…

This is how Last Stop on the Red Line opens. The pacing is rhythmic. The dialogue is ancillary. The “camera” is intentional. All of these visual clues elicit such bold relationships with other pieces of American pop-culture. Properties like Men in Black, The X-Files, or even The Strain immediately come to mind; however, it’s not just visual similarities. The plot of Last Stop on the Red Line seems to be stitched from various elements of these modern-ish sci-fi pieces, as well. Some of these familiarities were a welcome respite from the confusion of what exactly was going on.

A mysterious man named Yusef, a “Dick Tracy-looking” lady detective named Officer Torres, and a goo-monster all seem to wrapped up in some kind of mystery that we are no closer to answering at the end of this issue than we were at the beginning. We open on something “grizzly” happening at a race. We cut to something “grizzly” happening on the Red Line. Without much explanation, we move onto one of the most wildly unexplained choices I’ve read in a comic book: Officer Torres (who we just meet) offers to take Yusef (presumably homeless) over to her home WITH HER CHILDREN to eat dinner as a thank you for . . . saving her from geese? I read and reread the opening of this issue many times, and I still could not truly make sense of what is going on here.

Honestly, this is a jarring first issue of a comic book series. The beginning specifically calls this issue 1 of 4, so it’s likely going to be a limited-run series. If that is the case, they likely have a story planned full of supernatural adventures. Going by this issue alone, it seems this book is overly concerned with withholding information from you, so it actually leaves you with absolutely nothing to look forward to; however, I am still interested in what this book could potentially be. Horror is a fascinating genre that has not overly saturated the comic book market. In other words, many of us are waiting on a good one and cherish the good ones that come around. My hope is that Last Stop on the Red Line is hiding a very clear premise with a decent plot and well-developed characters. So far, I don’t know who anyone is, what kind of world this is, if some people have powers, etc.

The art is great, and I am a huge fan of the character designs. People are kind of ugly in this, and I dig that. This comic is also very colorful. John Rauch and Sam Lotfi have a good thing going together. Anytime there was an action sequence or a monster appeared, the book really took on a unique identity all on its own. There was still mystery in these panels, but it was a mystery I wanted solved!

Creative Team: Paul Maybury (writer), Sam Lotfi (art), John Rauch (color)
Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
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