This review has to begin with an acknowledgment from me: I would never have picked up Black Road if it hadn't been for Charley from Vault of Midnight in Grand Rapids.
As I was staring at the new release wall 3 months back, Charley grabbed Black Road #1 and told me I would love it. She was dead on. This has fast become one of my favorite reads. This is my plea to anyone reading this - get to know the people running your local comic book stores! Charley and the crew at Vault along with Gavin and Dee over at Tardy's have recommended some incredible reads for not just me, but my son and my girlfriend as well. Make friends. Buy books. And then buy new books because I can't imagine having missed out on this epic tale.
Ok, into the actual review portion of this thing.
The best moments in many of my favorite books have come when a writer lets their art team shine. Brian Wood steps back to give the opening pages of this book to Garry Brown and Dave McCaig and God bless him for that. This issue is titled "Out Come The Wolves" and we see this right from the outset. This artwork is stunning from Brown and McCaig's colors play so well into the stark landscape of the Black Road itself.
When we get the story going, we find Magnus and Julia searching for shelter in a place that has Julia quite uncomfortable. After some insisting from Magnus, the pair settles in for the night. In one of the most delightfully light hearted moments in an otherwise heavy book, we see Magnus as the little spoon. I have no idea if this was an intentional choice or just something that happened, but I freaking loved it.
We also learn more about the destination of our duo, Norskk and the man they go to meet, Bishop Oakenfold.
Among the standout lines from Wood's writing this issue are Magnus' description of Julia. He seems to have found admiration for the girl with the "dusky skin". He seems to now hold her in far less contempt than the start of their journey and it gives growth the gruff lead.
The issue's title returns as Magnus and Julia fight wolves in a beautifully drawn sequence from Brown. McCaig's colors make you take pause and look at the harsh reality of the land our heroes are traveling through. Barren and dangerous, stripped of color yet full of life. It causes a brilliant contrast with the red of Julia's hood and the red of blood.
OVERALL RATING: 9 out of 10 Slaps To The Face Of God
This story is building and it's epic. Black Road is already on my pull list and now I just want more. Why is Bishop Oakenfold someone worth this road to see? What is Julia's quest? And just how freaking badass is Magnus? I need answers, and I'll happily keep reading to get them.