Back when Dungeons & Dragons were popular, it seemed that everyone wanted to get into the whole roleplaying scene. Get your minds out of the gutter, not that kind of role-play. Most kids in the mid eighties wanted to be warrior or thief or even a cavalier. Along for the ride were Fighting Fantasy books. Each book would look at different story types in which the reader could partake in an adventures, armed with a pencil, paper and a die. The initial book, Warlock of Firetop Mountain was a traditional quest book but soon variety became the norm. From that series, Freeway Fighter, loosely similar to the popular Mad Max films was created.
This is a comic book based on that adventure, written by Andi Ewington, who introduces the main character, De La Rosa along with her particular desolate wasteland of an environment.
Andi Ewington certainly seems to revel in the 80’s. His previous book, Overrun, had a decidedly Tron feel to it. Now he is heading back to the cult favourite books from that era. As with his other work, the book is well paced and for a book that centres on just one character, it is well nuanced. The monologue has a dry feel to it, which suits the De La Rosa’s world. Another possible throwback to the 80’s is the lead who talks to her car. This time however, it doesn’t talk back. Seems this talking to inanimate objects is becoming a bit of a trend (see the review for Plastic #1).
Simon Coleby provides the pencils and the inks for the book. Coleby certainly likes his cars, with some impressive work both when they are in and out of action. For this type of story, the car has more upgrades than an episode of Fast ‘n’ Loud. It’s all about survival of the fittest and strongest as cars go up against the ubiquitous dune buggy with a machines gun. Despites the familiarities of the story, Coleby works hard to give the book an action movie feel with a mix of large panels and splash pages which are not just used for the action scenes. The downside of this is that it does make the book a quick read. The other elements of Coleby’s can be viewed as a mixed bag with strong framework coupled with inconsistent faces. The book is colored by Len O’Grady who aides and abets with aplomb in the creation of the virus stricken world.
Back in the day I quite enjoyed the Fighting Fantasy books, despite the hours stuck in a maze of pages. The idea that you controlled the adventure, the choices, was a fun conceit. I am a little surprised then, that Titan are publishing a comic book which essentially is moving away from the “choose your destiny” idea to a more standard form of storytelling. This is not helped by the over familiarity of the desolate wasteland / Mad Max environments. That said, it is to the credit of Ewington and Coleby that the book is as entertaining as it is, with a strong character and some excellent visuals.
If you are interested in Freeway Fighter, head over to the interview section where we catch up with writer Andi Ewington and artist Simon Coleby.
Writing – 4 Stars
Art – 4.5 Stars
Colors -4 Stars
In Shops: May 17, 2017 / MAR172050