Comic Review: Road Rage TPB (IDW)

Road Rage, the IDW Trade, collects single issues Road Rage: Throttle #1 and #2, plus Road Rage: Duel issues #3 and #4. There’s a lot of rage on the road […]

Road Rage, the IDW Trade, collects single issues Road Rage: Throttle #1 and #2, plus Road Rage: Duel issues #3 and #4.

There’s a lot of rage on the road in this trade, and we are definitely along for the rides. I say RIDES because this trade collects two separate stories of road rage.

In reverse order, the second story in the volume is entitled Duel, a famous short story written by Richard Matheson. Duel had been made into a screenplay and subsequent movie directed by Stephen Spielberg. It’s adapted here by Chris Ryall, with art by Rafa Garres.

Duel deals with an extended road rage episode between a traveling salesman and a long distance trucker. It is superbly told, with all the story (and road) twists and turns well illustrated. You really get the feel of the emotional and physical tolls that this battle takes on its participants. By turns claustrophobic and exhilarating, Duel is extremely well realized, and a sweaty experience to read. Dust, dirt, sweat, fear and anger, all there for the asking.

Before you read Duel, however, there is Throttle, co-written by horror writer Stephen King and his son Joe Hill. Throttle is a tribute to their enjoyment of Duel. In fact, there are forewords and introductions by both authors.

Throttle deals with the same basic concept, a road rage journey and battle between truck driver and motorist. In this case, though, it’s a group of motorcyclists, on their way to collect a debt. There’s lots of backstory about the nature of the debt, and various opinions on how much is owed, and how likely it is they will collect the money. Plus swearing. There’s lots and lots of adult language in this adaptation.

Throttle is serviceable enough as a story to be enjoyable (and hey, who doesn’t love King and Hill), but does not have the same visceral “white knuckle” feel of Duel. This is partly due to the art style that Nelson Daniel uses in his visuals: clean lines, big areas of simulated zipatone, and a somewhat cartoony look for the characters. Daniel applies lots of background textures in wash colors to make the atmosphere more dusty and grimy, which does help somewhat in creating tension. But we are still left with the feeling that these characters are disposable, unfortunately.

In addition to the notes from Joe Hill and Stephen King, this trade collects the covers of the original comics, so you can enjoy the various visual styles of those artists too.

Road Rage TP IDW, 122 pages, $17.99 For Mature readers.

Alan Spinney

About Alan Spinney

After a career of graphic design, art direction and copywriting, I still have a passion for words and pictures. I love it when a comic book comes together; the story is tight, and the drawings lead me forward. Art with words... the toughest storytelling technique to get right. Was this comic book worth your money? Let's see!!