Low Road West #4
Writer: Phillip K. Johnson
In the Copper Sky you own what you come in with. In the Copper Sky death is not an ending, death is just the beginning.
What I love most about Philip K. Johnson’s work is how it is easily separating itself from what has come before it. There is no end of speculative fiction, dystopic, end times and with a hint of magic or relief. Sadly, most of it is the kind of chaff you can kick at with your feet, half-realized. incomplete litter – It’s mostly in your way.
One of the reasons I enjoy Low Road West so much is that I trust that they have a fully complete world behind the pages. Serial comics, even limited run comics, sometimes seem a figuring out process, as though the authors were discovering things along with the reader. Here, I trust that this is a fully realized world being uncovered through a serial process. The world makes sense, has weight, and everything is consistent within its rules.
Another reason this is so good is that there is a cost to the second life that is being hinted at on the horizon, the change. As I mentioned before, Low Road West covers the trope of Heading West, in fact, the showdown happening right now is in an American ghost town. One that would have come to be by the previous generations that sought change, and hopeful future from a darker present. But that sort of transformation comes at a cost. In the real world of North American history it always did, and today it still does. Change is very rarely easy. So it is very refreshing to see a real transaction occurring in this issue. It isn’t just escapist and wish fulfillment. There’s work ahead.
This month gives us the penultimate issue of this limited run so things are beginning to heat up and move along quickly. there’s a part of me that worries at a satisfactory end next month. Can they really wrap this up neatly? But I quickly discard those thoughts because I trust in the authors, I trust in the process. In a way, this feels like a chapter in a larger narrative and I’ll be quite happy if we see more of this world.
In the meantime, Flaviano continues with his mix of sketchy and finished art. The choices are all thematically sound and play with the prose so very well. I would love to see the rough pencils though. The challenge Miquel Muerto has in colouring can’t be understated and he does a fantastic job of bringing the pages to life with a narrow palette and what must be a riot of artwork. Visually if I have a complaint it is just that some text was a hard read because of its necessary placement over black or near black colours.
In this issue, we see how bendy time really is under a copper sky, and what that could mean for all involved. We get to see the horizon of coming changes, and although there’s a sense of inevitability it all depends on how distorted everything really is.
Ben has been living under in The Copper Sky for some time now, Amir has been communing with journal author Abraham, and everyone, it seems, has secrets. And it isn’t just the characters who bring mystery or half-truths. Time, here, is an unreliable narrator. So in this issue, we get some answers to questions as well as the introduction of some new questions! The final issue is going to have some work cut out for it, but I’m very much looking forward to the conclusion.
Really looking forward actually. In the Copper Sky, the ending might just be the beginning.
Low Road West #4
The Low Road West continues building impressively towards its conclusion. This issue brings as many questions as answers as the children are pursued by what's left of Jimmy Harper and his militia.