Overview

Last Mortal #1

Review

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Last Mortal #1

Credits

  • Words: John Mahoney & Filip Sablik
  • Art: Thomas Nachlik
  • Publisher: Image Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: May 18, 2011

Last Mortal #1, co-written by John Mahoney and Filip Sablik, is the story of Alec King and his best friend Brian. In the first two pages we’re introduced to Alec, mourning the loss of his friend, taking responsibility for that death, and then placing a gun under his chin and pulling the trigger.

Wait. What? 

The omniscient narrative continues past his apparent suicide and brings us to the day before. We get to meet Alec and are introduced to his very shady existence. He’s a well-read young man, but lives on hot dogs and fountain water, earning cash from small, less than legal scores on the side. Brian has been his partner since they were kids. We hear Alex lament in his head about all the bad things he’s done and gotten he and Brian into. He sympathetically knows he lives a meaningless life, but apathetically does nothing about it but regret. Alec never says it, but the reader gets the impression that he’s waiting for one of two things to happen, death or jail. Neither is preferable, but either one is inevitable. 

After Brian gets them in a seemingly unsolvable predicament having to do with an assassination attempt, Alec is torn between his faded morals and shaky loyalty. Standing for nothing, he falls for anything and accompanies Brian. Things don’t transpire so smoothly and we are brought right up to the issue’s first scene.

Mahoney and Sablik do something commendable with this first issue -- they successfully narrow their focus so sharply that the reader can sympathize and care about Alec. He is a character that can easily be judged or disliked based of the choices he makes but the writers take great pains in making Alec a fully fleshed out person. You may not agree with his choices but you can understand the line of reasoning that gets him there. The attention they give to this lapsed drug addict and felon feels like the kind of character building that will hopefully pay off later in the series.

The artwork by Thomas Nachlik is impressive in its simple but kinetic nature. For a black and white book, he is able to relay a distinct and layered feel that some books can’t achieve with a colorist. In particular, the scenes involving their assassination attempt are incredibly well-paced and frantic. They successfully convey the speed at which a terrible thing occurs and how it can all unravel so quickly. The creative team complement one another’s strengths so well that any piece removed would result in a completely different and possibly weaker book. 

Last Mortal #1 is a surprise read that tinkers with convention but comforts the reader with heart. It’s a solid opening, a stark story, and has a genre-ending cliffhanger that begs to be followed up on. The hook has been set. It’s time to reel us in for more.

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