Review-Proctor Valley Road #1: Highway To Hell
Review – Proctor Valley Road #1
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Writer: Grant Morrison and Alex Child
Illustrator: Naomi Franquiz
Colourist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letterer: Jim Campbell
Release Date: March 10th 2021
What happens when you take rural mid America during the 1970s and combine it with a bunch of horrifc monsters. You get ‘Proctor Valley Road’, a limited issue horror series from publisher Boom Studios. With visonary Grant Morrison and Newcomer Alex Child behind the wheel, the series is already off to a great start.
August, Rylee, Cora and Jennie are four teens, who desperate to attend the concert of their dreams have organised a ‘Spook Tour’,on the most ‘haunted’ stretch of road in America, for their classmates. When their visit takes a turn for the supernatural, these four misfit friends find themselves in a race against time to rescue the missing students and must not only slay the evil monsters roaming Proctor Valley Road but also the monsters lurking in the heart of 1970s America.
The opening page sets the tone for the rest of the story. Morrison and Child present an underlying ominous tone that builds slowly through the issue. 1970 is a time of political and social tension in American and that is touched upon in this book. There are various references throughout the first issue to events of time. Including the protagonists being referred to as the ‘Manson Girls’, several references to the Vietnam War and issues of race. These underlying themes paired with the overall story provide an interesting tale set on an iconic backdrop.
The characters are written with a great spunky attitude that represents the anti-establishment attitude of teens at the time. For instance August is a charming, motivated character who acts as the de facto leader of the group. With a mouth that gets her into trouble several times throughout the first issue. The second character we are introduced to is Rylee. She is a rebellious teen with a bit of an attitude problem, but overall is level-headed and realistic.
Jennie is the smartest of the group with a strong anti-establishment sentiment and lofty goals in life. Above all she is a force to be reckoned with, having one of the best lines in issue one. Saying to an old woman who is racist to her: “Death To Tyrants, Mother-Fucker”.
Cora the last of the group to appear and possibly the youngest and most anxious of the group, knows the most about the history of the Proctor Valley Road being highly superstitious and pessimistic.
The great thing about the cast of teens in the book is that they are all unique individuals who are as diverse as they come. Morrison and Child do a great job at creating a diverse group of main characters with each teen being a different race and culture, presenting them as normal people rather than the preppy bunch of teens associated with mystery stories. An all female cast also really helps buck the sterotypes of mystery groups of the past. With the Girls being genuinely compelling characters.
The art for this issue is stunning, with Naomi Franquiz doing a fantastic job of encapsulating the nostalgia of 1970’s as well as creating a unique period appropriate style associated with each character. For Instance the drawings feel animated and sketchbook like an old school Cartoon Network show, really capturing the feel of California suburbia. The character design of each of the main protagonists are varied and unique conveying the personality traits of the individual through their designs.
As I’ve said in previous reviews, Tamra Bonvillain’s colouring work is always a joy to look at and ‘Proctor Valley Road’ is no exception. The dusty pallet of pastel greens, yellows and blues really captures the look of a sleepy suburban American in the mid 1970’s. The shift from lighter colours such as blue and green to a darker twilight pallet of purple and pink in the latter edge of the issue really adds to the intense theme of mystery, present in the story.
‘Proctor Valley Road’ is Morrison’s first original series in 5 years. However,it is clear to see they have not lost their touch. Paired with newcomer Alex Child, the duo has struck gold with this first issue. The art and the colouring are superb, with both of these combined presenting a stylistic and eye-catching first issue. I am very excited to see where ‘Proctor Valley Road’ goes; and ultimately how crazy it will get.
If You have any thoughts on ‘Proctor Valley Road’ #1, or about this review, leave your comments below.
To purchase ‘Proctor Valley Road #1’ for yourself, you can can find it at all good comicbook retailers and on Forbidden Planet.
If you want to read more reviews on Grant Morrison books check out our reviews of ‘JLA: Earth 2’ or ‘All Star Superman’. To look for more work by Tamra Bonvillain Check out ‘Once and Future’ Volume 1 and Volume 2 available on the Website.
Listen to Massimo, AmericIan and Alan discussing ‘Proctor Valley Road’ #1 (amongst other things) on the third episode of our podcast, BGCP: Disassembled.
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