On a backwoods road in Maine, hidden in the shadows of night, a woman wakes up from a car wreck, scared, and disoriented. Her memories are a haze, but she calls for help.
Assistance comes in the form of Owen, a young man who responds from his uncle’s garage. He gets in his tow truck and heads out to find her on the Coffin Road.
Before the dangers or secrets of the road are unveiled an eerie ambiance embeds itself into the pages.
This marks the intriguing opening of John Carpenter’s Night Terrors: The Coffin Road.
Secrets Amid the Specters
Owen discovers the papers refer to someone named Alex, but the young girl can’t recall who or why she is there. When Owen opens the trunk he finds a disturbing discovery: the woman is dead.
The dead roam the area frequently, and many are lost souls, trapped. In order to keep her from being stuck forever he must get her out of the coffin road, but… someone else is after them too, determined to finish what they started.
They each have a backstory, and Coffin Road holds both answers and more questions.
I was immediately taken in by the cover art which captures the danger, the terror that both of our leads are in the throes of. The shattering glass and roaming ghoulish hands are reminiscent of a life (or lives) devastated.
As a horror, it favors eerie over violent, creepy over visceral. It plays like a ghost story told over a campfire with plots doled out in hushed voices and animated physicality.
Some images are especially striking, specifically some of the larger page panel-less spreads. The overall design occasionally shifts to non-rectangular panels adding some interesting flair to the overall visual.
The coloring and the lettering pull you in, with the dialogue and description consistent and clear. Emotion is conveyed through both our leads and linear storytelling. With purple, blue and red hues there are some gorgeous pages that evoke a creepiness and a sense of wonder.
A Spellbinding Page Turner
As the plot unspools, carrying with it a slew of spirits that are upended, the narrative foreshadowing is a bit heavy and some of its resolutions unclear. Despite this, there are some intriguing plot lines, including a spot at a diner that provides ample thrills as it surprises.
Sometimes dreamy, sometimes nightmarish, the tale draws you in. The intensity of the storytelling and artistry can, at times, feel overwhelming, but mostly speaks in effective tones that warn: beware.
There is a palpable suspense that builds to a haunting final page.
With chilling artwork, and slowly dealt blows, The Coffin Road is a compelling story with arresting visuals to accompany. It may occasionally veer off course, but it’s a road I’m happy to get lost on.
Storm King Comics knows what it’s doing and I can’t wait to read more from these masters of storytelling!
Night Terrors: The Coffin Road is available to purchase. For more information on Storm King Comics, click here.