It’s Christmastime in Wisconsin and that means three things: Snow, cheer, and ritualistic murder. Your Major Spoilers review of Devil’s Highway #1, awaits!
DEVIL’S HIGHWAY #1 (OF 5)
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Brent Schoonover
Colorist: Nick Filardi
Letterer: Sal Sipriano
Publisher: AWA Studios – Upshot
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: July 1st, 2020
Previously in Devil’s Highway: A young woman with a dark family secret embarks on a quest to hunt down the serial killer that brutally murdered her father – only to discover he is just one piece of a national network of evil that snakes across the country and hides in plain sight.
A Bitter Family Reunion
Devil’s Highway #1 opens up in Drift County, Wisconsin in a small roadside diner. As the last customer leaves, the owner begins to lock up until a half-naked woman appears pleading for help. He lets her inside, but the two are soon joined by a third person. Sometime later a woman appears at the local police station demanding for the police report on her father’s murder. After a brief exchange with the cops present, where she makes it clear she isn’t afraid to threaten and use intimidation to get what she wants, she leaves with the police report. After looking at the crime scene at the diner and working out that a nearby gas station may have surveillance footage she goes there. After getting what she wants she heads to the morgue to look at her father’s body. While there she discovers a large symbol carved into his chest. Back at the gas station a man has arrived and is interested in the same surveillance footage. Over in Eau Claire, WI, police find another body with the same symbol on her chest.
An Interesting Introduction, Not Much Else
Devil’s Highway #1 feels like the first 30 minutes of the first hour of a much longer show or movie, and that may be by design. Essentially, all we’re getting in this issue is the basic setup to the plot and a few of the characters, but even the characters aren’t fully revealed. What is here is good though. The main character of Sharon at first comes off as a cliche gritty type character, but little displays of sentimentality while no one is around makes her feel more interesting and shows depth. There seems to be little influences all over this. The setting and the inclusion of a mysterious man trailing the lead character gives this a Coen Brothers feel, a la Fargo and Old Country for Old Men. Also, the nature of the murders have a real True Detective feel, but without some more details about them it’s still up to speculation about what is actually going on in this story.
Gruesome With Restraint
The art in Devil’s Highway is very expressive. A lot of attention is given to facial features and expressions that feel perfectly matched with the writing and dialog. As with some of the more violent portions of this comic, Brent Schoonover manages to portray a certain amount of grizzlyness without it becoming gratuitous or exaggerated.
Bottom Line: A Good Beginning, Not Strong On It’s Own
Devil’s Highway #1 feels like a strong kickoff to a story, but feels a bit too reliant on what may come later rather than being a satisfying chapter in itself. The character work in both writing and art is well executed and the usage of inspiration from other sources is effective without it feeling like a ripoff. 3.5 out of 5 stars.
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Devil's Highway #1