Vol. 3 of The Last Man
By Balak + Sanlaville + Vive̒s
Once again, this volume of The Last Man saga relies on knowledge of the previous two volumes. But in terms of story content it is a fantastic jumping on point for new readers. Adrian and his mother, Marianne, expand on the world of anachronisms and flights of fancy, in a stunning graphic novel, The Chase. As new vistas open, this book so far, has been the strongest of the three volumes in the series. A lot more character depth and mystery abounds in the pages of The Chase and the story rings more truly because of this. If only the series had started out this way.
The writing is much improved over the previous two installments, and this time around the centerpiece of Marianne’s character in both her role as a mother and in the mysterious knowledge she seems to hold. The Chase after The Last Man’s Richard Aldana, whom we find is a more mysterious man than in the previous two volumes (in which he really was a cypher). It’s the simple addition of more background to their characters that make this book more enduring than the last. In fact, most of the tension arises as you don’t seem to know these characters as well as you know them now, but there seems so much more to tell. The cookie cutter characters are now finally being fleshed out while still holding on to that serial feel.
The art just keeps getting better and better with each volume. Abandoned petroleum reservoirs, outlaw “police forces,” and panoramic port and cityscapes pepper the volume with panache, and even the manga-styled characters are looking more realistic (mind you that could be because I’m used to them by now). From driving across a wasteland, to a literal Kangaroo Courtroom’s antics, the action is brisk and fast paced through this artistic barrage. It seems that the artists have been saving up for this installment to deliver their punch; and it lands. The art isn’t rushed, but rather sweeps and flows to draw the reader into the page. Stylized in grey tones, you can almost imagine the colors leaping off the pages. Sound effects and word balloons are well placed and also serve well in guiding the viewer’s eye. You can hear the sounds of a port town, and it looks good.
For a more sophisticated viewing of the world of The Last Man, fans of Dragonball or Dragonball Z, manga, fight comics and video game admirers, The Chase is the graphic novel in the series you don’t want to miss.