One of my biggest disappointments came this week when I realized that The High Ways by John Byrne is a four-issue miniseries rather than a full-blown series. In a month where Superior Spider-man #1 had not been released, I believe The High Ways would have been my most acclaimed comic of the month.
The High Ways is a continuation of the relationship between John Byrne and IDW Comics that brought you Trio a few months earlier. The High Ways follows the story of a young man named Eddie Wallace as he dives into a new job opportunity, one which is hidden from both the reader and Wallace by quirky co-workers. While IDW occasionally gets a good series handed to them - Angel: After the Fall and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles come to mind - they're in dire need of some good well-written stories to put them on the map of Indie comics which is currently dominated by Image and Dark Horse. Even more than stories, they need a web site that makes a lick of sense and actually displays organized information about their books, but I digress.
Byrne's old-school art style is immediately pleasing. It makes me wish that he were penciling just about every good comic book that I'm reading right now. And the story is fantastic as well. The reader sees everything from Wallace's perspective, and to tell the truth Wallace doesn't seem to know much about what's going on until it happens. He just dives in, meeting a woman who serves as his tour guide, a wild and unpredictable boss who charts their journey for unknown territory, and an intriguing situation on a moon base. The reader knows nothing about the characters, the world, the time, about anything, but information simply unravels. Byrne keeps you wondering and then effortlessly gives you just enough information to keep fresh questions in your head. Before you know it, you care for the characters without any overt attempts to humanize them. They are simply human, and Byrne seems like he is more than.
The only down side is that there will only be four issues. I could imagine this book going on endlessly and without a goal for the story to work towards. As long as Wallace is still alive and stories unravel around him, I want to read it. On the other hand, I trust Byrne's vision because he hasn't lead me astray as far as the first issue.
If you thought The High Ways was going to be Cheech and Chong in space, you will be disappointed. But once you crack issue one, your disappointment will evaporate. It will be replaced by happiness.