PopCultHQ received an advance review copy of LAST STOP ON THE RED LINE #1 from Dark Horse Comics. Available May 15th, the debut issue features writing from Paul Maybury, illustrations from Sam Lotfi, colors by John Rauch, and letters from Adam Pruett.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…
LAST STOP ON THE RED LINE #1
Publication Date: May 15, 2019
Format: FC, 32 pages; Miniseries
Detective Migdalia Torres investigates a vicious strangling on a Boston subway car with no feasible leads. As potential evidence produces dead ends, Migdalia inadvertently takes in a vagrant named Yusef who may have a supernatural connection to the crime at hand.
* Writer Paul Maybury and illustrator Sam Lotfi bring a horrific murder mystery to Dark Horse!
PopCultHQ’s Comic Book Review:
LAST STOP ON THE RED LINE #1
What is the worst fear to live with? The monsters in our heads or the ones that walk the world we inhabit? Who has the answers? The people we trust to protect us or the people we turn away from?
There’s always something different about a creator who can wear that hat of both writer and artist from one project to another. They tell their stories in a different way.
Steven Maybury writes a story from his visual background for another artist to interpret. The result is something that should read like any piece of visual art, you need to soak in the tale to really appreciate it.
Like any artist, he gets his concept across, even if it isn’t in the clearest or linear fashion. In this issue, that disjointed presentation enhances the jarring experience of a subway under siege by the supernatural.
But the results vary when it comes to the character beats and interactions. Fortunately, the ideas being put forward are strong enough to make a point. Maybury’s willingness to tie his supernatural escapism to real-world themes and Boston culture is a unique voice from which to write with and interesting enough to see where the following issue takes it.
Relative newcomer Sam Lotfi (Public Relations) does a great job launching this series with a creative visual flair that balances a cartoony style and horror-tinged atmosphere.
It’s not deeply disturbing like a Steve Niles or Ben Templesmith book, but it helps when illustrating the eclectic nature of the Boston native cast. His beasts come off a little more Ghostbusters than H.P. Lovecraft, but they still carry a strong and jarring sense of fright with them when they attack. What stands out is Lotfi’s knack for interesting angles and dynamic page and panel layouts. They help to entertain even when the story hits some confusing narrative points.
John Rauch, colorist on Invincible and The Darkness, manages to find the exact right balance between both of those books to deliver a colourful AND darker toned atmosphere to the story.
He is strikingly effective in driving the point home on the opening page and adding appropriate real-world resemblance in coloring the cast and settings. A colorist contributing this level of work to a cartoony style can often go underappreciated. Rauch shouldn’t.
The effects work is uniquely eye-catching in its sudden disruption of normalcy and the color washes over Lotfi’s perspective are equally effective.
Adam Pruett is made to really showcase his stuff in this issue. From title headings that are anything but standard, to effects work that really compliment the art, to overlayed text that isn’t as easy to qualify but still looks attractive to the eye. Pruett’s work is the unifying thread that stitches the efforts of the writer, artist, and colorist together and helps to communicate the messages and themes that all involved are going for.
Look deep into this story and the real nightmare will reveal itself. It isn’t the Lovecraftian beasts that stalk the Boston subway. It’s the fear, the prejudice, the hate, the danger, and the unknown of people who don’t know what life is anymore. It all amounts to an interesting, if not exactly clear, read. The horror won’t scare the pants off you as much as the sentiment of the issue should.
3.5 out of 5 Stars
LAST STOP ON THE RED LINE #1 can be pre-ordered now and
available at your LCS and online retailers on Wednesday, May 15th!
Writer – Paul Maybury
Artist – Sam Lotfi
Publisher – Dark Horse Comics