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Phantom Road #1

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 16 critic ratings.


Dom is a long-haul truck driver attempting to stay ahead of his tragic past. When he stops one night to assist Birdie, who has been in a massive car crash, they pull an artifact from the wreckage that throws their lives into fifth gear. Suddenly, a typical midnight run has become a frantic journey through a surreal world where Dom and Birdie find themselves the quarry of strange and impossible monsters.

It’s grindhouse horror meeting high-concept supernatural fantasy in the first issue of a bold new series from JEFF LEMIRE (THE BONE ORCHARD MYTHOS, LITTLE MONSTERS) and GABRIEL HERNÁNDEZ WALTA (The Vision, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: Old Man Whittier), the Eisner Award-nominated creative team behind the bestselling Sentient series.

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Length
29 pages
Amazon ASIN

16 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 98

    Comic Watch

    Phantom Road #1 is a lonely, haunting read that cuts through its genre conventions to tell the beginning filled with emotional complexity and flashes of ruthless action. From its cold open utilizing an almost comic strip format to the long stretches of darkened highways and then endless expanses of desert, the writing, art, and colors all speak to a stripped-down but enthralling tale of lost souls. Fans of quieter stories with plenty of introspection and monstrosities will love this issue, which plays into the strengths of Lemire, Walta, Bellaire, and Wands.

  • 90

    Comic Crusaders

    Jeff Lemire is a writer /creator who has worked for the Big Two along with a host of indie companies. Probably most recognised for his excellent Hawkeye runs along his Black Hammer work which harks back to a simpler time. He also has a penchant for horror tinged books. This then falls squarely in to the latter category. Lemire’s “hero” is a flawed characters, pretty much as we all are. Dom is just trying to get through his life, one long haul after the other, whilst no succumbing to the failures of his Dad. Lemire sets up the horror element well, utilising an immediate shock event to unbalance Dom before ramping up the tension. (…) Gabriel H. Walta provides the art for the book. Having worked on Hellboy and the B.P.R.D, Walta brings a darkness more than existence to the art. The lines are heavy in a way that help distinguish the characters from the various, very well detailed backgrounds. It is these backgrounds that help establish the unnerving surrealism of the locale that Dom and his rescuer find themselves in. (…) With shades of Hotel California ringing in my ears after reading this book, I am intrigued to see where Lemire “keeps on trucking” will drive the character forward. Is it just survival or is there something else in play down the line? I wonder what Dom would give for Optimus prime right about now?

  • 90

    After months of anticipation, the debut issue of Phantom Road has arrived – and it absolutely lives up to the hype. The premise itself is simple: a long-haul truck driver runs into trouble on a particularly deserted stretch of highway, resulting in some disastrous consequences. On paper, it may be a trope that seems a bit too tired, but this creative team wastes little time in putting its own stamp on things, giving readers an intriguing premiere that leaves an impression on those it touches. From the moment you open the comic’s front cover, a peak Lemire-ian vibe pulls you in with its atmospheric tone, one amplified tenfold by the work of Gabriel H. Walta. From the leap, Phantom Road has the Twin Peaks qualities Jeff Lemire tends to draw upon in nearly all of his titles and for that, you can’t blame him. Lemire knows what he writes exceptionally well and continues to hit pay dirt with this recipe.

  • 87

    The Super Powered Fancast

    The Story: Lemire crafts an entertaining and suspenseful story in this first issue. The premise is engaging and the immediacy of the story connected with me right away. I love the dark tone of the story and how it unfolds. There’s a great mystery being crafted in this issue and I look forward to seeing where that mystery takes me as a reader.

    The Art: Walta delivers some amazing art in the issue. Not only does the art capture the desolation and loneliness of the road, but it beautifully details the world of the characters.

  • 85

    Multiversity Comics

    Again, as far as the plot goes in “Phantom Road” #1, we are left with more questions than answers. The issue relies more on creating an unsettling atmosphere on the titular road and Dom’s life before he and the stranger land into a literal nightmare. Despite this, it’s a riveting first issue, with simple tricks like lighting and color saturation impacting the story and drawing you into the world’s mystery. Like most good horror, it leaves you on the edge of your seat and drops you right into the action. Answers can come later as they drive down the long and lonesome road.

    “Phantom Road” #1 is an incredibly effective visual comic that masterfully creates tone and tension with color saturation and harsh lighting. It’s a road you want to travel down.

  • 82

    Monkeys Fighting Robots

    Over the course of his career, Jeff Lemire has steadily built himself up as one of the comics medium’s premier horror writers, and this trend continues with Phantom Road #1. Lemire has always had a knack for pulling unique horror scenarios out of a hat, and this opening issue contains one of his most intriguing premises yet. (…) Lemire’s dialogue sensibilities feel very natural and make the readers feel more at home with the characters we meet – as well as let their reactions to the change of setting feel more real. This first issue is a textbook example on how to open a great horror story. (…) Phantom Road #1 is graced by the distinct, nuanced visual direction of Gabriel Hernandez Walta. Walta’s thin pencils and detailed inks go on to create memorable character design, genuinely unnerving monsters, and a setting that feels real and lived in. His subtle approach works perfectly with Lemire’s lack of dialogue in many places, as Walta takes advantage of the comics medium’s visual storytelling with stellar sequential direction and distinct artistic touches. (…) Phantom Road #1 is a thoughtful and unique new horror chapter from two of the industry’s most acclaimed creators. Lemire’s script gets the reader affiliated with Dom with careful characterization before dunking us into the genre twist, all while leaving plenty of space for the visuals to do the storytelling. The art by Gabriel H. Walta and Jordie Bellaire is atmospheric and detailed, providing an engrossing setting and unnerving creatures to keep readers glued to the book from beginning to end.

  • 80

    Lotusland Comics

    If you want weird and creepy supernatural sci-fi(?), then Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and Jordie Bellaire have you covered with their new series, ‘Phantom Road.’ What looks and feels like a low-budget indie grindhouse film, ‘Phantom Road’ examines the turbulent memories of a long-haul trucker who can’t shake the instability of his childhood that’s found him following in his father’s footsteps. Dom is on the road in a desolate desert setting brought to life by Walta and Bellaire in dusty and beige tones. Walta’s sketchy designs give the series a grounded appearance until things get bizarre and threatening. Dom comes across Birdie in a car accident and a mysterious artifact sends them to a strange world like our own but with monsters. It’s a bizarre piece of surrealistic fantasy and character study. It invokes a little of M. Night Shyamalan’s ‘Signs’ with the exploitative themes of films like ‘Race with the Devil.’ It’s arthouse terror for comics and definitely worth checking out.

  • 80

    Comic Book Revolution

    Phantom Road #1 delivers exactly what I was looking for from what I thought this series would be based on the preview. Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire establish a tone of unknown with what the story or setting will be about. That sense of loss with the environment is where Phantom Road #1 excels. (…) As great as Lemire is at writing all of the characters Walta’s artwork, along with Bellaire’s coloring, is what brings Phantom Road #1 to life. Admittedly the art style isn’t one that I normally get into but works for the direction this series is taking. Walta and Bellaire capture the tone that Lemire is going for with each scene in which Dom, Birdie, and the other characters are involved. The shift in tone helps get over how crazy things get by the end of this first issue. (…) From where it starts to how it ends Jeff Lemire, Gabriel Walta, and Jordie Bellaire create a comic book you get lost in with Phantom Road #1. If you’re a fan of supernatural horror this is a comic book you don’t want to miss picking up.

  • 80


    Phantom Road has the potential to be one of Lemire’s most ambitious horror stories. The story establishes two people trapped in an unusual realm of some kind. They’re alone. Alone with some strange artifact that they can’t understand. Dom surely isn’t going back home to North Dakota and Birdie’s place in all of this remains a mystery that we’ll find out soon enough.

  • 80


    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.

  • 80

    Graphic Policy

    Written by Jeff Lemire, Phantom Road #1 features a lot of familiar aspects in Lemire’s writing as well as a good mystery to figure out. In the end, it’s two individuals thrown into some weird world by a mysterious object, something that’s been in recent series like The Woods and Beyond the Breach. The latter of the two feeling somewhat similar. But, it’s the deeper focus on characters that makes the debut stand out.

    Often, Lemire’s stories have to do with fathers and their children. This one is no different as Lemire puts the emphasis on Dom’s absence from his family and generally horrible treatment and attitude towards them. Take that rough aspect and compare it in how he treats the stranger Birdie and we get a complicated and not so clear cut of a character. It’s that sort of human emotion and turmoil Lemire likes to focus on and where his stories often shine.

    Joining Lemire is artist Gabriel H. Walta, who he has worked with before on Sentient. With Jordie Bellaire on color and lettering by Steve Wands, the comic has an interesting look that befits the world being crafted. There’s a certain emptiness to the characters and situations both literal and metaphorical. The latter half of the comic, the emptiness is clear on the road and the word Dom and Birdie are sent to. In the former half, it’s an emptiness of character. All of it is delivered in a rather drab coloring befitting the story.

    Phantom Road #1 is a slow start but an interesting one. There’s a lot of questions set up but also a focus on the characters and direct danger that gives the issue a bit of a punch. It’s a good start though the team has done better. Still, Lemire, Walta, Bellaire, and Wands is a creative team that you know you can count on paying off in the end and based on the start, I’d expect that here too.

  • 80

    Horror DNA

    Phantom Road #1 drops Dom and Birdie in to its surrealist desert-scape without much ado; a nifty prologue whets the appetite before circling back to meet Dom, hours previously. Another quick flashback seeds a few hints as to Dom’s tragic past, and then we’re off to a world of grey skies and even greyer monsters. The what and why of it all remains to be seen, but this is a compelling introduction to Lemire’s world(s) and its two lead characters.

    Illustrator Walta and colourist Bellaire do great work in differentiating between the two worlds – thick, heavy brushstrokes and full-colour for ours, washed-out and faded for the desert realm. Walta’s characters are suitably expressive – the story requiring several variations on shocked and scared, plus a sinister weirdo in a public bathroom. Meanwhile, the monsters are enjoyably creepy and menacing, in a modern Doctor Who kind of way.

    The journey from here isn’t entirely clear (road trip, anyone?), but those picking up to see a sad trucker hoofing demonic entities in the head with a crowbar surely won’t be disappointed.

  • 80

    Capes & Tights

    Jeff Lemire (Sweet Tooth, Snow Angels) and Gabriel Hernandez Walta (The Vision, Hellboy and the B.P.R.D: Old Man Whittier) have created a truly unique story that is part grindhouse horror and part high-concept supernatural fantasy with Phantom Road. It’s an exciting journey that we can’t wait to explore further!

    Phantom Road #1In this debut issue of the miniseries, we meet Dom, a long-haul truck driver who is struggling with his tragic past. His life takes an unexpected turn when he stops one night to help Birdie, who has been in a massive car crash. When they pull an artifact from the wreckage, they are thrown into an intense journey through a surreal world where they are hunted by strange and impossible monsters.

    Lemire continues to prove why he is one of the best creative minds in comic books today. His writing is captivating and entertaining, drawing readers into this mysterious world with ease. Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s artwork also fits the story perfectly; it has a haunting quality that immerses readers in each scene and captures the full range of emotions felt by Dom and Birdie on their journey. The story moves along at a good pace, leaving readers wanting more after each page turn!

    The combination of Lemire’s writing and Walta’s artwork makes Phantom Road #1 something special for comic book fans. The stakes are high as Dom and Birdie battle against impossible odds—we still don’t know what will happen next! This is sure to be an exciting ride as we explore this supernatural fantasy world further!

    The long anticipated debut of Phantom Road is now available at your local comic shops. Jeff Lemire’s creative writing and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s stunning artwork, this miniseries promises to be thrilling ride into the unknown. After finishing this first issue, I’m already eager for more—and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way too.

  • 75


    If you pick up the first issue of Phantom Road from Lemire and Walta, know that you’ll have to be in for the long run. For good or for bad, the first issue is a lot of set up with not enough pay off.

  • 70

    The Comicbook Dispatch

    Phantom Road #1‘s familiar premise, identifiable characters, and fast-moving story caught me in its draft and carried me along. It evokes The Twilight Zone and The Walking Dead. Edvard Munch’s painting The Scream also comes to mind. As a passenger on this strange journey, I wonder where the series will take me next.

  • 70

    Big Comic Page

    Lemire, Walta and the team have crafted a tight, gripping first issue. For all the wide open spaces, there’s something almost claustrophobic about sitting in the cab of a truck, shut away from the world as it passes by. It would be easy to take Phantom Road at simple face value, thinking of it like a pilot for some inevitable adaptation. For me, it’s solid enough as a single issue. Like a short horror novella, you might not get the resolution you crave, but its got the guts of a good campfire story.

    The art is good throughout with a brilliant transition from the dark and the gloom, to the vibrant lights of the late night diner, and then the bleached out haze of the Phantom Road itself. The character of Dom is wonderfully portrayed with hidden depths. Walta manages to switch our trucker from this affable warm smiled gent, to hard anger-fueled monster whilst maintaining a consistency of delivery. The writing and visuals bound together to give a sense there’s clearly more to the mundane elements here, let alone the all the weird.

    At first, admittedly quick, pass I thought Phantom Road was going to be some Trucker vs Zombie action; something I wouldn’t have been adverse to despite the genre being somewhat tired of late. Instead, I was treated to a supernatural horror thriller which is punchy, pacy, and piques the interest. Whilst this debut issue maybe hasn’t hooked me completely, I definitely wouldn’t say no to seeing more.

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