cover image Devil’s Highway, Vol. 1

Devil’s Highway, Vol. 1

Benjamin Percy and Brent Schoonover. Upshot, $9.99 trade paper (128p) ISBN 978-1-953165-01-5

Tattooed, taciturn Afghanistan vet Sharon Harrow returns home to the overcast winter of Drift County, Wisc., to investigate her father’s murder in this pulpy thriller. She batters and brawls her way through the Upper Midwest, taking on a satanic cult of truckers who kidnap and torture prostitutes, and a vulgar faction of shady, sleazy men—from a grotesquely obese truck stop pimp to a creepily grinning reptile salesmen. It all climaxes with a tractor-trailer duel and a fiery funeral pyre, capped with a frustrating coda (hinting there’s plenty more trucker sadists still out there for future stories). The script by Percy (the Wolverine and X-Force series) is fast-moving enough to plow right through plot holes and missing beats (much of Sharon’s investigation is from info found on the dark net with little explanation) though it relies overly on clichéd characters (including hookers with hearts of gold). Schoonover (the Astonishing Ant-Man series) paints the region as suitably gloomy and claustrophobic, though his faces are often similar enough to invite confusion of characters. But the over-helping of shock and repulsion result in a revenge tale more purge than catharsis. The spectacle will appeal to fans of the Alien franchise and indie sci-fi/horror comics such as Garth Ennis’s Caliban or Rick Remender’s Black Science. (Feb.)