Review: ‘Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1’ – Some Pasts Don’t Die

by Malissa White

Within each of us exists a part that wants, sometimes desperately, to leave the past behind. Easier said than done. More often than not, it finds a way to out itself. Because we’ve carried it with us into that new place, stowed it away in a secret compartment. Or in some cases, beneath the bar. Bree Hale’s past wound its’ way back into her life, heralded by her brother, for better and worse. In her case, for much, much worse.

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1. Cover by Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio.

Justin Jordan’s Dead Body Road returns much like Bree does: violently and with a bang. The first issue follows Bree Hale settled in her new life behind the bar at The Country Squire content to keep the peace. Until she finds herself at odds with a local crime boss when her good-for-nothing brother gets put in his cross hairs. The life she left behind comes screaming back, proving that some pasts don’t stay buried long. Bad Blood is a completely new run within the larger Dead Body Road series, so there’s little risk of getting completely lost if you’re new to the series. 

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1. Page 5.

This time, artist Benjamin Tiesma heads the series in an interesting visual direction. Scratchy lines create a grainy, worn texture to the settings and faces. These places (and people) are battle worn, but intact. Fine dotting and detail gives the comic a grainy effect, as if watching a VHS of our favorite crime dramas. It’s that texture that adds grit to Dead Body Road: Bad Blood, and sets the scene as one inspired heavily by rural Pennsylvania’s Appalachian parts.

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1. Page 10.

Colorist Mat Lopes’ use of golden yellow on Bree is a fine choice against the moonlit blues. The color evokes stained wood, honey blondes, and fire. Sentiments Lopes plays on well to draw the comic together in the final page. No spoilers, of course. You’ll just have to see for yourself.

Dead Body Road: Bad Blood #1. Page 22.

I know what to expect here, though I suspect Spread writer Jordan has some touching character development up his sleeve. Fans of Justified and Banshee with a taste for Elmore Leonard’s brand of crime thriller will greatly enjoy the series.

Published under Image’s Skybound imprint, Dead Body Road: Bad Blood is written by Justin Jordan with art from Benjamin Tiesma, colors by Mat Lopes, and letters by Pat Brosseau. Cover art is by Matteo Scalera and Moreno Dinisio. Find it on Comixology, Image Comics, or at your local retailers.

Malissa White

Malissa White is an indie comics writer, creator, producer and reviewer from Los Angeles, CA. Her works include the comic NIGHTMARE, SOUNDBOX with Kamikaze Animated's SHORT CIRCUIT Anthology, and short horror story "Vessel" with Black Women Are Scary. She interviews creators on Comics Creators Club via YouTube and her reviews can be found on The Valkyries blog. Like most 90s nerds, Malissa fell in love with comics after watching Storm on the X-Men. Since then, her mission is to bring complex WOC to the forefront of genre storytelling. When not writing, she's watching horror movies, drinking coffee, and probably on Twitter. Follow her there, or everywhere, at @Malissifent.

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