I’ve never been huge on vintage tales riddled with warriors and religious types, but Image Comics, and more specifically, writer Brian Wood and artist Garry Brown have got me questioning my previous opinion. Black Road Volume 1 is nothing short of amazing.
The story sees Magnus the Black recruited to transfer a religious man through a barren wasteland that all but guarantees death. And death does come. I won’t spoil the details, as there are a few very important slayings in the book, and they could conceivably ruin future issues of this rugged, remorseless book.
The book could easily be likened to a Conan tale. They share a great deal in common: lengthy travels through treacherous territory; a warrior so dominant virtually all who cross his path are left quivering in fear; endless battles with rogues of the bad lands. It all sounds rather Conan, eh?
Here’s the kicker: I’ve enjoyed Black Road far more than I’ve ever enjoyed a Conan book. And I’ve read some mighty fine Conan stories. I suppose that’s testament to the talents of Wood and Brown, a duo who seem perfectly fit to take readers on a perilous journey, loaded with deception and mystery.
Be prepared for beautifully grim artwork, and be prepared to dive into a narrative that never once pulls punches. This is the comic book answer for Game of Thrones, or Lord of the Rings freaks, we just so happen to get a much greater emphasis on the humans of the story, which more than works for me.
I’m aching to see what becomes of Magnus.