By Nolan P. Smith
(Victor Valley)– I didn’t know what to expect when I saw the solicits for Highwayman from Top Shelf/IDW. The cover looked great, and the premise of the story intrigued. So I took the dive and picked up the graphic novel. What I got was far more than a walk down the street: I got the journey of a lifetime, and then some.
The book focuses on Lucas, a lone traveler with different color eyes, from hitching a ride from a self-proclaimed man of the Bible, to being taken hostage by three young women headed to the rave of their life. The man not only goes from place to place, but the chapters jump from time to time, and I mean large amounts of time. This is a man who has lived through the ages, but how? And why? By the end of the book, we find out, and it will blow you away.
For me, the most shocking chapter, Sizzle, perfectly shows have far humanity will fall when the going gets tough. It’s a sickening, horrible truth our protagonist discovers in a land paralyzed by unbearable heat, and the pages scream such emotion, you have to read it to fully appreciate it.
The writing and art is by Koren Shadmi, and I am in amazement of Shadmi’s work. The panels done in varying hues of one color really drives home the emotional attachment of the scenes. From when we find out what’s in the bag Lucas is carrying, to the last chapter that will blow you away, Shadmi is in full control of this emotional journey, and creates panels, sequences and pages that embody just how amazing the sequential artform can be.
I haven’t been this impressed in a book in quite some time. This mature rated book is a tour de force of a man’s journey, and is bound to strike an emotional cord with you, just as it did with me. I have never read anything by Shadmi, but now I want to track down more, and would love more stories like Highwayman. I cannot recommend this dark, introspective book enough, and I imagine it will be on my best of 2019 list in December.