REVIEW: ‘The Last God,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 4 minutes

The Last God #1

WARNING: This series is graphic and is intended for a mature audience.

The Last God #1 – “Book 1 of the Fellspyre Chronicles” is published by DC Comics Black Label, an imprint of DC Comics, written by Phillip K. Johnson, with art by Riccardo Federici, colors by Sunny Gho, and Dean White, and lettering by Tom Napolitano. DC released an advanced look at the issue at the beginning of the month, and the time has come to open the pages of this fantasy quest and review the hell out of it.

This is a story of life and death, heroes and monsters, love, and loss. A quest of warriors to save the land, nay, to save the world from the black plague that pollutes the land and all life it comes into contact with. As with many stories of this ilk, first, we must understand the history of the land and of its people. Thus, the first few pages of The Last God #1 are dedicated to the original faction of heroes that climbed the ‘Black Stair’, to slay the god in the Void and stop the spread of the plague of flowers.

That was the history as we are led to believe, but our story jumps into the present. The mightiest member of the ‘Godslayers’ now rules the land with his warrior Queen at his side. The people of Tyrgolad, have gathered in the fighting pits to give thanks to their King, on this the thirtieth anniversary, by cheering on a gladiator reenactment of that bloody and grotesque battle.

One of these gladiator slaves has fought and won some 59 of his previous encounters. A win today, would mean he’d earned his freedom. The gladiator in question is the town’s favorite, Eyvindr. If only it were so easy. Immediately after the ceremonial battle, smoke arises from within the inner sanctum of the palace. All of the slaves and gladiators are hurriedly conscripted by the local guard to join them in finding out what is at the heart of the disturbance. What they find is much more shocking, and horrifying, than any of them could have imagined.

I hadn’t realized how much I’ve been thirsting for a fantasy quest story until I read The Last God #1. The story that Johnson has created is rich with dramatic tension and ticks off all those classic mythical boxes that fans of this genre will fall in love with. This story has so many elements to enjoy such as other races, clans, magic, monsters, gods, gladiators breaking the bonds of slavery, love, and betrayal. The biggest highlight for myself was the introduction of a giant white, muscular beast called an Ursulon that is the goodest, most loyal boy that did ever exist. Listen, it’s a giant dog-like creature that can be ridden into battle. I have wanted to see this ever since I was a little boy and I watched He-Man and saw Battlecat, and I will own this opinion.
While the story stands tall and becomes its own unique entity, it is also fantastically served by the artistic work created by Federici. When it comes to the imagery, wow, the shackles are off. The opening and ending pages of this issue get very dark and grotesque. As the disease spreads it infests the living and dead alike, mangling and warping their bodies into something unrecognizable. Once they are under the control of the God of the Void, they are compelled to join his army of horrors. The detail that Federici is able to transcribe onto the page is downright astonishing in some of his later full-page spreads. The details in the panels are so visceral and mesmerizing.
The colors from Gho and White add a level of depth that further adds credit to this magnificent issue. The details are beautifully accentuated whether the scene takes place night or day, or even upon the top of the ‘Black Stair’ battling the god of the Void. There is also one horrific scene that takes place within the back alley slums of the city that when viewed pops off the page with a frightfully unspeakable level of character.
The lettering sadly left me disappointed. At times, it reads with a texture of pixelation, as if physically transcribed onto the page. It may have been the effect they wanted to go for, as if the words from the narrator were being physically written onto a piece of parchment, and being read aloud to an eager listener. From my vantage point however, it felt very clunky and unrefined. It was just not the right font that I felt befits such a wonderful first issue.
This is a thrilling story to pick up and one that I believe will excel under the DC Black Label imprint. Johnson has even gone so far as to add some pages in the back of the issue that layer in extra lore to the land, and defining the symbolism of the music. It’s a level of depth that I can fully get behind. Fans of Game Of Thrones, Dungeons & Dragons, and God Of War should find that this comic checks all the right boxes for them. It is a bloody brilliant first entry and I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!
The Last God #1 is available in stores now.
The Last God #1
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TL;DR

This is a thrilling story to pick up and one that I believe will excel under the DC Black Label imprint. Johnson has even gone so far as to add some pages in the back of the issue that layer in extra lore to the land, and defining the symbolism of the music. It’s a level of depth that I can fully get behind.