Review: Road to Bones #1

Road to Bones #1

Road to Bones #1 is a comic that I might have overlooked if it weren’t for the description.

In 1953, the Siberian Gulag of Kolyma is hell on Earth. That’s why Roman Morozov leaps at the chance to escape it. Even if they make it out, Roman and his fellow escapees still have hundreds of miles of frozen tundra between them and freedom. With the help of a mysterious being out of his childhood fairy tales, Roman just might make it. Or is the being simply a manifestation of his brutal circumstances driving him insane?

Written by Rich Douek with art by Alex Cormack, and lettering by Justin Birch, Road to Bones #1 is all about the set up. And it’s a hell of a start. While the comic takes place in 1953 and Siberia, the story itself is a familiar one. Inmates attempt to escape a brutal prison. Outside, they must face a brutal environment and each other. In that sense, the comic isn’t original. But, the presentation is top notch.

The team have focused on the emotional ride of their story. The first issue creates a tension through until it gets to its horror infused final page. That’s the brilliance of the issue. While it feels like a prison break story, it’s the infusion of the supernatural and horror which makes it really stand out. Due to that focus, there’s an emotional ride that might not be present. The setting too does add something, giving the story a brutal edge that becomes ever more apparent as it moves along.

That’s helped by Cormack’s art which adds to the setting and harsh wintery conditions of the world. Cormack’s depiction of violence also leaves more than enough to the reader’s imagination adding to the psychological horror. That always leads to an exaggeration of horrors. Birch’s lettering is excellent as well adding to the atmosphere of it all. There’s something gritty about it, adding to the harsh nature.

At first, Road to Bones #1 might not seem original but by its end, it’s a debut that’ll have you begging to read the second issue immediately.

Story: Rich Douek Art: Alex Cormack Letterer: Justin Birch
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

IDW Publishing provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review