DC Comics tries its hand at high fantasy this Wednesday in the newest brutal Black Label title, THE LAST GOD #1.
A World Built Upon Lies
The Last God #1 begins with an interesting concept; the tales told throughout the lands are lies. Opening on a brazen truth and not keeping it a mystery is different, as other comics would hold the secret over the readers head. But, this change in story telling is the only moment The Last God #1 stands apart form other fantasy stories.
Writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson gives a brief history of the battle that made Tyr who he is now while introducing the main characters. Little is said about each character, other than a quick explanation of their helping of Tyr. Transitioning into the present, Johnson introduced King Tyr, leader of Tyrgolad.
Johnson reveals more history of King Tyr and his lies through a gladiator battle and words from the queen. Through each ‘history’ lesson, the world never feels fleshed out nor the characters. Each moment that should be world-building feels empty, making you long for more. But, not in the fun fashion of learning about a world.
Giving away the ‘every tale is a lie’ was a huge gamble that could’ve paid off substantially if the rest of The Last God #1 tried to shake things up. Instead, no character feels unique, while the world never beckons you to come back. It seems more of time was spent on hyping up a pretty epic villain.
High Fantasy, High Art
The Last God #1’s strongest aspect is Riccardo Federici’s art. Federici’s pencils remind you of the classic art of Heavy Metal. Carrying the brunt of the story is his ability to mix brutality of mature high fantasy, and realistic anatomy. Federici’s style is exactly what comes to mind when thinking of mature fantasy. His designs for the creatures and main villain are the highlight of the issue, as each time one graces the page you steer clear of them.
The colors by Sunny Gho and Dean White help portray the world and creatures of The Last God #1 in a realistic yet fantastic manner. The world seems brown and desert-like on the outer rims of the cities, while the inner parts of the towns are lush with life. The duo’s colors combine perfectly with Federici’s designs and art.
Throughout The Last God #1, Steve Wands’ dialogue bubbles look scratchy, as they appear drawn and imperfect. This mixed with the changing fonts works well.
The last God Returns (Conclusion)
If The Last God #1 had a higher page count while taking its time it would’ve greatly benefited the organic feeling that was missing. Although the story doesn’t match the epic feeling of the art, further issues could help make the world feel like one you’d want to read more about.
Cover Story: The main cover by Kai Carpenter and variant cover by Riccardo Federici are amazingly beautiful. Both hit that mature fantasy vibe you’d find on Heavy Metal and buy for the cover alone.
Side Note: There are novel stories in the back of The Last God. Novels like these are usually in Fantasy stories, and are always nice ways to expand the story/world.
What did you think of DC Comics Black Label’s foray into High Fantasy? Let us know below!