REVIEW: ‘Dead Body Road’ Volume 2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Dead Body Road Volume 2: Bad Blood is a paperback published by ImageSkybound collecting the 6-issue follow up series to the original Dead Body Road. It is written by Justin Jordan and features art by Benjamin Teisma, colors from Mat Lopes, and letters from Pat Brosseau. Following the blood-soaked, high-octane ending of Dead Body Road Volume 1, Jordan and the team bring us back into their ‘shoot first, ask questions later’ universe with a whole new set of characters.

Bad Blood is a spiritual successor to the first volume, but do not let it fool you into seeming like a backseat story. This stand-alone volume is just as gritty as its predecessor, if not more so. Enter Bree Hall, a reformed criminal who returns home after a stint in the military. Her hopes for a quiet life are quickly shot down when the local crime boss puts a hit on her brother, Hunter, and leaves Bree no choice but to defend her family’s name.

Bree Hall serves as the vigilante ‘Punisher’ archetype, but instead of simply recycling the same mechanics that make those stories readable, Jordan crafts lore between these characters that make them shockingly human. A perfect example is Dane, the only law enforcement officer who is not in the crime bosses’ pocket. Dane is also a former romantic interest of Bree’s which the whole town knows. That knowledge also falls in the hands of the wrong people which makes him a prime target to shoot down on the path to Bree and her brother.

The most terrifying character is Monk. This mysterious head of the crime organization in town is on the hunt for Hunter. He is the villain that other villains fear, both for his impulse moments of evil and his control over all the pawns in the town. What makes this character believable, though, is his inner turmoil. The constant struggle with his inner demons begins to permeate from his thoughts and into those close to him and all we can do is watch as he inches closer to his breaking point. Further from the life he wished he could give his son.

Throughout Dead Body Road, Jordan writes about ‘doing better’ or ‘being better’ than you are. Whether it is for your own sake or for the ones you love, there is always room to be better. Volume 1 introduced us to this theme with Gage honoring his wife’s death because she is what made him better. Bree Hall’s attempt to be better was joining the military and coming back home to start a new clean life. Monk’s opportunity to be better was when he and his spouse had a son. Monk saw having a son as a way to correct his own errors. His son could lead a different life, be bigger and better than his father. That was all ripped away after his son was killed in a fall while Monk’s spouse was running away with Hunter.

Jordan also does a phenomenal job in his storytelling. With everyone’s chance of being better ripped away, the pacing of the plot fires on all cylinders and does not let up until you close the book. As the issues escalate, so does the story.  At the beginning of the book, we are in the thick of the plot with no answers, reading through frantic panels of characters we do not understand quite yet, but Jordan feeds us just enough information to keep us on edge and turning each page. The dialogue is vulgar, gritty, often only profanities, but entirely believable. The moments in the story are jam-packed with adrenaline so tightly that often the only thoughts crossing your mind are those same profanities.

Teisma’s artwork in Dead Body Road is something to marvel at. Beyond his ability to draw hair raising action, the expressions he draws are the most human I have seen in a long time. You can feel the seething anger from Monk, the nervous energies from Hunter and you feel the tension between Bree and Dane just from the way they look at each other. This volume has a lot of intense action as well. Car chases, fires, close-quarters combat which is all drawn fluidly and easy to follow. The letter assists in these action sequences with Brosseau’s well-placed moments. The font choice and placement throughout this story allows the intense moments the breathing room they need. Lopes’ colors also serve as the cherry on top for these moments, adding depth and atmosphere to the book. The colors reflect each chaotic moment that happens in this story and are both stimulating and thought-provoking.

Overall, Dead Body Road Volume 2: Bad Blood hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until what’s done is done. If you are looking for a high stakes action thriller, then look no further.

Dead Body Road Volume 2: Bad Blood is available now wherever comics are sold.

Dead Body Road Volume 2: Bad Blood
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TL;DR

Overall, Dead Body Road Volume 2: Bad Blood hits the ground running and doesn’t stop until what’s done is done. If you are looking for a high stakes action thriller, then look no further.