“Road Rage: Duel” #3 — a continuation in numbering from the “Road Rage: Throttle” two-parter but actually the start of the adaptation of Richard Matheson’s “Duel” story — is one hell of a ride. The original story, for those who don’t know, is about a guy driving on a road when suddenly a truck tries to kill him repeatedly. The story really is that simple. but it’s the telling where the beauty can be seen, a concept Matheson understood. Steven Spielberg understood it when he adapted it to the screen. Now, Chris Ryall and Rafa Garres continue that understanding as they adapt it to yet another medium.
This issue is basically one giant car chase/thriller and yet you’ll find certain parts making you hold your breath. Most of this praise falls in the lap of artist Rafa Garres. His amazing efforts to invest you in our everyman lead, Mann, and then make you feel the death so close on his heels is definitely praise-worthy. Each panel almost feels like a painting that could stand alone and tell its own thousand word tale. When put into sequential motion, you almost feel dizzy.
Conveying the speed and motion of this car-and-truck cat-and-mouse game is no easy feat. Sound effects, speed lines, facial reactions and brilliant pacing on each page make for a comic that immerses you completely in the moment. You wince each time Mann nearly bites the big one. The tendrils of smoke emitting from the truck look and act aggressively. The beat-up nature of the truck dares you to say something derogatory. There is so much tone and nuance on these pages you’ll want to slam through it fast the first time to feel the tension and then the second run will be your time to slow it down and really take it all in.
Ryall brings back the thought balloon and it holds its own for a specific purpose in a bold move that works spectacularly well. There are captions that omnisciently narrate and Mann speaks to himself plenty through the ordeal, but some moments are just for thoughts in his head. It is nice to still imagine these panels as silent while still getting into Mann’s thoughts about his place in the world. Count this one as a complete success.
“Road Rage: Duel” #3 is a blast of exhaust that will make you exhausted just reading it. Ryall and Garres put you into the prime position to feel the danger and fear the possibilities. This adaptation aims to honor the original while also serving the new medium. You can enjoy a great story, appreciate Ryall’s effort in bringing it together and then be left with all the time in the world to marvel at Garres’ artwork. This book looks amazing and will leave you wanting to see how they do the rest.