Review: Proctor Valley Road #1
There’s been a rise in the group ghost hunting genre. You see it on television with a smattering of shows that feel like they multiply each month and blend together. In comics, there’s been a rise as well with numerous series all giving their spin. They too tend to blend together though each has its own special something. Proctor Valley Road #1 kicks off the latest entry into the genre with a solid start that’s really good but at the same time blends in with the bunch.
Written by Grant Morrison and Alex Child Proctor Valley Road #1 takes us to the 1970s. The Vietnam War rages on and a group of girls want to see Janis Joplin in concert. To do so, they need to raise money and after various schemes don’t work out, they turn to a ghost tour that goes horribly wrong.
There’s a cinematic quality about the comic which makes sense as it’s already being adapted to television. What starts with a slight Goonies vibe turns into a series that’s more of a Stand By Me meets Fire in the Sky with a little IT sense about it.
It’s a good start with each character showing off unique and memorable personalities that make you like them all. Morrison and Child plant the story squarely in the time period with uncomfortable discussions over the war and language, though accurate, will (hopefully) make readers wince. Despite the fantastical nature of the story, this detail helps ground it in some ways. There’s also an interesting use of the war as to what happens in the comic. Again, it’s a detail that adds depth and realism to the story and series.
Naomi Franquiz handles the art delivering a lot of that personality helping to bring the characters alive. Along with colors by Tamra Bonvillain and lettering by Jim Campbell, the visuals of the comic are smart teasing the horror and building the tension. There’s something really well done with how the story is crafted visually. There’s a good use of visually building tension, whether it’s the confrontation at the fair or the events at the end. All of it never goes over the top either. The “scares” and unease are just enough to get you to come back and want to see more. The comic could have easily gone the gore route but it uses a smart build like that of IT or The Blair Witch Project to keep readers on edge as to what might happen.
Proctor Valley Road #1 is a well done comic. It unfortunately has a lot of similar comics out right now and they’re all well done. It’ll be interesting to see how this one differentiates itself from the pack. The use of the Vietnam War is one way that’s happening grounding the story and infusing real world events to make readers question what might have happened.
Story: Grant Morrison, Alex Child Art: Naomi Franquiz
Color: Tamra Bonvillain Letterer: Jim Campbell
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
BOOM! Studios provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review