REVIEW: ‘Proctor Valley Road,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Proctor Valley Road #1

Proctor Valley Road #1 is published by BOOM! Studios. It comes from the creative team of writers Grant Morrison and Alex Child, artist Naomi Franquiz, colorist Tamra Bonvillain, and letterer Jim Campbell. The story begins at night on a dark and desolate road. A splash of blood hits the side of a car, and a bizarre creature stalks through the brush. An unnamed man lies on the ground, clearly wounded, as the creature lifts the car and throws it a great distance away.

The perspective then shifts to two girls going into a convenience store. They attempt to shoplift but are caught and reported. At home, we learn that the two girls are named August and Rylee. They are troublemakers who have problems with authority and want to see Janet Joplin in concert. After the scolding from their mothers, the two leave to find their friend Jennie to develop a plan to make money. But the best plans can always have a flaw. Soon these girls will find themselves pulled into a horrific world beyond their wildest imagining.

Proctor Valley Road #1 is a solid first issue in a new horror series from Morrison and Child. The mystery is interesting, and the characters are fully realized. I found it refreshing to read a horror story with a distinct “summer” feel rather than the more chilly victorian and gothic horror I’ve been reviewing lately. I also really appreciate setting the horror at a time when it was sincerely terrifying to be a teenager. With the backdrop of the Vietnam war and the clear undertones of racism in the story, there are many social horrors at play. While this issue doesn’t explore them too much, they left the door open to do so later.

My only gripe is that things about the setting feel a little off. The way people talk to each other and the vernacular they use seems somewhat anachronistic. Some small timeline issues compound this. Stuff like Joplin touring in Canada while these characters want to see her in California. This isn’t a major flaw, but it does detract from the setting somewhat.

The art is excellent and helps lend a somewhat Stranger Things-esque air to the story. The characters are emotive with interesting designs. The creatures are scary and manage to be drawn just vaguely enough to keep from showing too much in the first issue. There are minor flaws with anachronisms here as well. Small things like a character wearing a Dark Side of the Moon shirt despite the album not coming out for a few more years. But that’s more of a nitpick than anything. The colors help keep the panels immersive and do a brilliant job of conveying the summer feel that I talked about earlier. The letters are clean, easy to follow, and pull the eye across that beautiful artwork.

All in all, I’m excited to see where this series goes from Proctor Valley Road #1. The central mystery has a lot of potential, the characters are fun and endearing, and the monsters are creepy. My gripes aren’t anything major and probably won’t register for the majority of readers. But regardless, if you’re a fan of horror this is a solid #1 for you to check out.

Proctor Valley Road #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

Proctor Valley Road #1
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TL;DR

All in all, I’m excited to see where this series goes from Proctor Valley Road #1. The central mystery has a lot of potential, the characters are fun and endearing, and the monsters are creepy. My gripes aren’t anything major and probably won’t register for the majority of readers.