Story by: Brian Wood
Art by: Garry Brown
Colors by: Dave McCaig
This week features the release of a new title from Image Comics, “Black Road.” We meet our protagonist, Magnus the Black, as he accepts a contract to escort a high-ranking church official to a town in northern Norway. However, they must traverse the Black Road, which has gained a reputation for the violence and atrocities that occur upon it. During the religious war that is taking place, Magnus finds himself thrust into a conflict where he takes no allegiance, Pagan or Christian.
The elements that compose this new title work well together. Wood does well to capture a sense of clipped and direct speech from Magnus. He is a man of few words and those that he does say are telling. From his inner monologue, we are left wondering what drives him as he mentions that he wants more than just gold and the death of his wife. Meanwhile, the art of Brown does well to capture the barren environment they travel and the violence of their conflicts. Not only are the struggles of the citizens represented but so is the tension between Pagans and Christians: grizzled faces, public stakings, and burning churches. The work of Brown does well alongside the coloring of McCaig. The colors do a superb job of capturing the bleak nature of the world. This is not some scenic landscape with an abundance of plants and animals. Rather this Scandinavian terrain provides little sense of wonder as its occupants and travelers find no joy in their surroundings.
It’s worth noting that in the beginning “Black Road” is titled as a mystery and this element is something that we have yet to encounter. While this duo finds their way further north, hopefully this component will be introduced. I’m sure that with it will come welcomed sense eeriness to the title. With visions of violence and burning churches throughout the issue, there is surely something heinous waiting around the corner. Ultimately, “Black Road” has promise and I’m curious to see where it goes next as Magnus and his Guardian Angel venture further north to along the Hammaruskk Coast.