Freeway Fighter #2
By Andi Ewington, Simon Coleby, Len O’Grady, and Jim Campbell. Cover by Ben Oliver
Unlike the first book, we get to see Bella interacting with another human being and this might change our opinion of her slightly. She is confident and badass, but hey, she’s still human. A human that has been cast into a lonely and desperate fight for survival.
Bella’s bleak existence is clear, often demonstrated by referring to her car as ‘She’. It’s not just a fun term, she seems to really care for her four-wheeled companion in a way a cowboy might care for his horse. While she’s out there, alone, tired and hungry she never feels like a downtrodden character. Her will to survive is stronger than anything that has been thrown her way and, unlike millions of others, she’s still standing. Even if she does have a slightly anthropomorphic relationship with her car.
As post-apocalyptic fiction so often highlights, the basic necessities are often the biggest challenge. Food, water, shelter, fuel – all of it is vital to continue the journey of simple existence and this is what is delivered to us this issue. The mundane becomes extraordinary.
For example, in one part of this book you can practically hear the wind in the background, the only noise for miles around as Bella tries to find fuel. The monologue over the panels gives us an insight into the human concerns that are buried behind her cold, confident exterior. The moody, dark sky punctuates above the barren landscape yet it is beautiful to look at. Coleby’s panels are crammed with detail but they never become too cluttered. His line work is incredible from the detail of Bella’s tattoo to the structure of a revolver. The lines are scratched throughout the brilliant colouring from Len O’Grady, blending and creating something unique and quite special.
Andi Ewington’s pace is great. The story picks up slowly, building a relationship between Bella and her hitchhiking companion while adding horror into the story. It isn’t the horror of The Walking Dead, it is far more barren and lifeless. Hints of former lives and evidence of human tragedy is highlighted, bringing the world of Freeway Fighter to the reader in great and dirty detail. It then accelerates into a crescendo of action.
There has been mention of Death in Freeway Fighter and of Bella ‘staring Death in the face’. This is translated into a very impressive panel and this theme seems to follow Bella around. Her past is hinted at but not quite revealed and there seems to be a weight on her shoulders.
Freeway Fighter #2 delivers a cliff-hanger of chaotic proportions as all hell breaks loose. We have seen Bella on the open road but we haven’t seen her in a fight as such. Whether her fierce skills at the wheel translate to fighting in other ways will be interesting to see because at the core of the character there is simply a racing driver trying to survive. Not an ex-marine or a martial artist but a driver.
The fact we have to wait another month really isn’t very fair on us. Freeway Fighter is a great read and it grows in strength this issue. The combination of Andi Ewington’s story pacing matched with Coleby and O’Grady’s art presents a slick comic with a lot of promise given to us at the end of this part. It is a fairly short run at four issues, so if you’re at all curious, you really should front that change and pick up the copies while you can. You won’t be sorry and you may even find a new favourite character in Bella De La Rosa.