Comics, Reviews

Phantom Road #5 Review: The Journey Has Just Begun

Buckle up for the thrilling story arc finale of Jeff Lemire and Gabriel Walta's haunting story about another world where the dead walk a long and desolate road.

Phantom Road #5 Review Cover
Image: Image Comics
By: Javier ReyesFeb 23, 2024, 2:07 AM

Phantom Road #5

Phantom Road #5 Full Cover

Writer: Jeff Lemire

Artist: Gabriel Hernandez Walta

Publisher: Image Comics

Release Date: July 4, 2023

Page Count: 28

Format: Comic

The thrilling finale to "Phantom Road's" first story arc brings plenty of twists and revelations that set the course for an intriguing journey ahead.

It’s been a crazy ride on Jeff Lemire (Twitter, IG) and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s (Twitter, IG) “Phantom Road.” This fifth issue brings us to the end of the story’s first leg, leaving plenty of strange revelations about the journey that’s still to come. Lemire is delivering another intriguing horror series here and I love where it’s taking us so far. While it’s a far departure from Lemire’s Bone Orchard Mythos series with artist Andrea Sorrentino, “Phantom Road” is a haunting comic with its atmospheric storytelling and otherworldly setting. Hernandez’s art brings a grittiness that makes every scene in the comic feel eerie. There’s a lot to love here in this comic series from some of the best creators out there today.

Here’s my review of “Phantom Road” #5

Agent Weaver investigatesImage: Image Comics

Story Overview 

Dom and Birdie are on the road to deliver the strange artifact to Golgotha. Even without much of a map on how to find it, the two press on to the next Billy Bear Truck Stop to find more clues. It’s not like either of them are eager to go back to the lives they left behind. But when Dom finally settles down to rest, Birdie takes matters into her own hands and tries to destroy the artifact. Things don’t go as she hopes, as the two get transported back into the desolate alternate universe.

In this latest issue, Agent Weaver discovers more about the mysterious “Project Jackknife” her masked kidnapper was talking about. After Weaver reconnects with her superiors, we see the powers that be is keeping strange secrets of their own. Then amidst the chaos of monsters attacking the truck, Dom and Birdie learn something about their cargo that turns their mission over its head. As they escape the mob of faceless monsters, it's revealed the alternate world is not as lonely as we thought.

Dom and Birdie are attackedImage: Image Comics


Reading this issue went by in a blink. It hits a good balance of horror and action with subtle character moments and plot twists that set the series on an intriguing course. Everything I thought I understood about “Phantom Road’s” story was changed by this thrilling finale. While not the most bombastic of endings, every scene in this issue ends with a cliffhanger that makes you want to know more. Curious readers will notice that even that issue’s cover drops a hint that the world of “Phantom Road” is much stranger than it seems.

Lemire is a master at carefully unraveling compelling stories without making them feel slow. This issue gives us a glimpse of Dom’s past, revealing that he may be hiding a dark secret about his family life. It doesn’t linger long, but it tells you enough about the character through the comic’s incredible visual storytelling. For what is supposed to be the end of the story arc, this issue feels like things are only just beginning. With the comic’s subtle pacing, I can see Lemire and Watla are more than happy to take their time in telling such a hauntingly intriguing story.

Artist Gabriel Walta and colorist Jordie Bellaire have been a great pairing for creating such an eerie world. By having extended scenes in both the living and dead world, you can more clearly see the contrasting depictions of the two sides. While the living world presents a range of dark and deep colors, the dead world is distinctly very bright, pale, and bleak looking. As incredible as everything has looked so far, “Phantom Road” really only scratches the surface of what both Walta and Bellaire are capable of with their work.

Dom and Birdie runImage: Image Comics

Final Thoughts 

The final pages of this issue delivered such an unexpected twist that I’m more intrigued than ever to see where this story goes. You know it’s a good cliffhanger when you’re gutted about waiting a few months until the next issue comes out. Lemire and Walta have set a great foundation for a new horror epic that’s shaping up to be a strange and gripping story. I’m hooked on it and can’t wait to see where the road takes us next.

Why You Should Read Phantom Road

  • The art by Gabriel Walta gives an eeriness to the world 
  • Jeff Lemire weaves a gripping horror concept
  • Each issue escalated the mystery surrounding the world and the characters
TAGGED: Image Comics
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