Book Review: Long Haul by Cullen Bunn and Heath Amodio

Long Haul is the latest graphic novel from Sandy Carpenter’s Storm King Comics’ Dark & Twisted line which focuses on horror stories with no supernatural or sci-fi elements. Long Haul starts dark (a family of four have been buried to their necks in the desert while being watched over by a sadistic trucker who is a member of a group of serial killers known as The Nine) and stays dark until the final pages.

Buy Long Haul by Cullen Bunn and Heath Amodio

The story moves quickly from the present – Carl and Danny Blake are looking for the psychopath who kidnapped their little sister off the streets in broad daylight – to the past where the same sister, Sarah Blake, has announced she will no longer be taking care of her ailing father during the day so she can get a job and help the family financially.

The Blakes are on the trail of a band of serial killers with names like The Dispatcher, The Chemist, The Desert Decimator, The Mantis, and The Gamesmith. These are people who believe they are owed respect for the absolute horror they perpetuate on the barren landscapes of Arizona, New Mexico, and eventually Kentucky. Carl and Danny are brutal in their tactics and undying in their love of their sister. Nothing is going to stop them from achieving their goals. In fact, there are points where Carl and Danny are so brutal, so crazy in their actions, you begin to feel poorly for the bad guys.

There is a ton of body horror in this comic, and the artwork is semi-realistic – in your face with its violence. The colors, inks, and lettering all work to tell a simple but important story about family. There is the close-knit Blake family, but there is also the close-knit family of serial killers. Characterization is a big plus here, and horror enthusiasts will find themselves drawn deeply into this dark tale.

There is a brief, but insightful, introduction by author Cullen Bunn and short biographies of all other major players. If Long Haul is any indicator of the type of quality we can expect from Dark & Twisted Comics, then we are in for an extensive, interesting ride.

Long Haul will be available February 21 through comics shops and direct sales, and March 5 at retail.

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Greg Hammond

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