This Week's Read: Last Man

I was very excited about this series, and so far, I'm not disappointed. Last Man, a collaboration between Balak (French animator), Michaël Sanlaville (French comic and video game artist), and Bastien Vivés (French comic artist), is a French graphic novel series that premiered in the US in April of this year. The publishing company is First Second.

The art style is distinctly French, but it's pretty clear the writers were highly influenced by classic manga. I felt like a tiny Osamu Tezuka sat on their shoulders, giving them a thumbs up. The story was peppy, cool, and fun: a young boy trains for a fighting tournament, but his partner drops out at the last minute. Devastated, he thinks he'll have to wait another year to fight. Suddenly, a strange man appears and offers to fight with him. The strange man is an incredible fighter, and the two become fast friends. But where did the man come from? Who is he? If he's such an incredible martial artist, why doesn't he understand basic tournament regulations?

The world that Balak, Sanlaville and Vivéshave set up is familiar, with a few fun additions. Most of the characters wear medieval-esque garb, but dinosaurs roam the countryside and no one bats an eye. Many of the fighters in the tournament use forms of magic to control the elements around them, but the rules set up for magic's use are similar to martial arts tournament guidelines. It's a cool world with lots of possibilities.

The story (so far) is pretty PG. I'd recommend it for anyone ages 12 and up. The first volume is titled, "The Stranger." If it's not available at your local comic shop, it's available online.

Go read.