Devil’s Highway #1 is an interesting comic as far as a debut. As part of the larger story, it feels like it’s a solid entry. But, on it’s own it’s a slow start whose pacing is along the line of a psychological thriller. Written by Benjamin Percy, the story follows a young woman who returns to town after her father has been murdered. She decides to take the investigation of his death into her own hands in what looks to be a serial killer situation.
As said above, the issue is slow. It heavily relies on the art of Brent Schoonover the deliver the story as characters look at crime scenes and evidence to piece together what has happened. This is a comic whose every detail has been thought out and in some ways is asking the reader to play along as detective.
And that’s where it’s all interesting as well.
Percy and Schoonover in a way beg the reader to go further into the story and linger on the images and what’s said to figure out the mystery. We’re shown things for a reason and go along the ride to see what this mystery is all about. We’re delivered evidence and like everyone else are challenged put the pieces of the puzzle together.
Those images too are key in invoking the emotion of it all. Many pages take on a nine panel view with little to no dialogue. Instead they rely on the positioning of the character and body language to tell the story. And it does an excellent job at that.
But, there’s also something unsettling about it all as well. Victims feel fetishized in a way with the final one being particularly unnerving. It doesn’t go over the top in an y way but it still feels a bit off to stare at these images. We get a voyeuristic view into into all.
Percy and Schoonover are joined by Nick Filardi on color and Sal Cipriano on lettering. The color choice of the comic really helps set the mood. With blues and whites, there’s a coldness to it all. It adds to the comic creating a dour mood beyond the at times horrific images.
Devil’s Highway #1 is an intriguing debut. It’s mostly wordless relying on body language and imagery to really drive the narrative. It’s absolutely unsettling at times with images that are disturbing. But, for those that enjoy murder mysteries, it’s a start that has a lot of potential. It doesn’t quite stand on its own but the technical execution is impressive and what they’re doing is rather unique.
Story: Benjamin Percy Art: Brent Schoonover
Color: Nick Filardi Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Story: 8.0 Art: 8.25 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Read
Purchase: comiXology – Kindle – Zeus Comics