So, here's the history of IDW's Road Rage #1. Richard Matheson wrote a short story called Duel, about a traveling salesman being stalked and terrorized by a mysterious big rig driver. Steven Spielberg then made his feature film debut directing the movie version of Duel back in 1971. Then, in 2009, Stephen King and his son Joe Hill (of Locke & Key fame, a series I really need to get around to reading) wrote a novella entitled Throttle, inspired heavily by Matheson's original tale. So now, in Road Rage #1, scripter Chris Ryall and artist Nelson Daniel are adapting Throttle into comics form for two issues, and then #3 and #4 will adapt Duel.
You don't really need to know any of that to check into this story, though. I certainly didn't, and I enjoyed it. In fact, it's probably better if you don't. So, sorry. If you want to stop right now and go get this issue before reading any more, do it. It's pretty cool.
It's about a biker gang going through a morality crisis and a potential rift over some dirty dealings involving some meth-heads and a machete, and it's entirely possible that some dude in a tanker truck overheard them discussing said dirty dealings. Or maybe he was pissed off about getting cut off. Either way, in the battle of semi truck vs. motorbikes that suddenly ignites, you can guess who wins – or who at least strikes the hardest.
Daniel's shading is overly-pixellated, it seems – perhaps in tribute to classic comic book stylings, but the shadows generally look like people just have black spots all over their faces. It's not that bad at first, but it really stands out on the second read-through. Other than that, his art is solid, especially when the trucker makes his move.
Ryall does a pretty good job at making this feel like it's going to be some sprawling Sons of Anarchy kind of grimy story of a criminal underworld with a big cast of characters, thus making the big rig attack more surprising and effective when it comes. He establishes a good bit of character development in the beginning before it all stops meaning anything in the face of vehicular homicide. By extension, I assume that means King and Hill did the same thing in their story, even if "Race Adamson" is an unfortunate name. You can't name a guy Race without bringing Johnny Quest to mind. Then again, maybe that's not a bad thing.
I never knew Race Bannon was that hardassed. Maybe Race Adamson will prove to be the same.
Either way, "murder by truck" makes for a good comic book.
CRAVE ONLINE RATING: 8/10