Advance Review: `Phantom Road’ #1 Is A Highway To Who Knows Where

by Tom Smithyman


This mystery has a decent enough start, but not quite enough to hook readers in for a long-haul ride. Still, the creative team has a track record of success, so let’s not judge them too harshly before we see where this story of a truck driver who is mysteriously stalked by faceless baddies is headed.


The life of a truck driver can be a lonely one. Days in the cab with nothing but miles of empty road ahead of you. Fatigue and boredom set in quickly.

So when driver Dom comes upon a terrible auto accident in the middle of nowhere in the premiere issue of Phantom Road, things take an interesting turn. He finds a scared survivor, Birdie, along with a body and a mysterious object that transports them…somewhere.

That somewhere is part of this story’s mystery. Where are Dom and his new companion? What are the featureless humanoid creatures that inhabit this land, and why are they stalking them? Whose body did we see on the road. What caused the accident that led Dom to stop in the first place?

As you might expect from the initial chapter, there are lots of questions and no answers. That is, doubtless, how writer Jeff Lemire (who contributes a variant cover as well) wants to snag his readers. He somewhat succeeds, assuming you can find some connection to Dom. We don’t know much about him, aside from a brief flashback, from these first few pages. So the real question that Lemire needs to answer quickly is: “Why should we care what happens to these two?”

Lemire’s Sentient collaborator, Gabriel H. Walta, draws the series in his signature style; panels are largely subdued and yet still compelling. Similarly, Jordie Bellaire’s colors are muted, particularly when the pair is transported. Prior to that, only a few pops or red, blue and green break up the more subdued palate.

Phantom Road is interesting enough, and this creative team has proven they deserve the benefit of the doubt. But they will need a strong follow-up issue to cement this series as something that readers will want to add to their pull lists.

Phantom Road #1 will be available for purchase on March 1, 2023.

%d bloggers like this: