ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘The Last Session,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The Last Session #1

The Last Session #1 is published by Mad Cave Studios. It comes from the creative team of writer Jasmine Walls, artist Dozerdraws, and letterer Micah Myers. The first issue opens with an eclectic group of students attending a high school “Gender Sexuality Alliance” meeting. With the club president missing, the group decides to start up a game of “Dice and Deathtraps.” Three weeks pass, and the president never attends, but the group has grown close through their shared sessions of D&D.

Years later, each of them has left high school and gone on to new things. Some of them attend higher education, and others work dead-end jobs to pay the bills. But each receives a welcome message, an invite from their friend and Game Master Jay. But Jay has a small surprise for all of them. They are introducing a new member to the party. Specifically, Jay’s significant other Cass who has been friendly with the group but never met them in person. Though Jay assures her that everything will be fine, Cass’ introduction is met with some hesitation from the group. As these friends meet for the end of their longest-running campaign, more than just luck will be tested.

The Last Session #1 is a fun, and cozy look at friendships and how they form and develop through the lens of D&D. The characters all feel like very real people. The inclusion of their pronouns in their introductions is also a nice touch that gives them more three-dimensional identities. The story is told in a way that many millennials, myself included, will find extremely relatable. The feeling of being excited to see your friends only to have the idealized version of them that lives in your head disappear is a powerful one. This first issue captures that feeling exceedingly well, particularly the disappointment shown by Lana when she realizes that Jay’s priorities have changed. Cass is now a part of the campaign whether the rest of the group likes it or not.

Though this issue doesn’t delve very deep into the friction that Cass’ involvement causes, it’s still clear to see. The party does their best to welcome her, but there’s something about her character that doesn’t quite click with them. Anyone who has played in or runs a TTRPG campaign for a decent amount of time will recognize this situation. The one player who started late and just doesn’t quite fit the vibe. But with Cass and Jay being romantically involved, it will be interesting to see where the story goes.

Dozerdraws’ art contributes to the cozy feeling of the story. Particularly the variety of shapes and shades that the characters come in. Friendships and gaming groups are, despite how some artists would have you believe, often very diverse groups. Seeing all of these realistic people with realistic lives get excited to see their friends and play D&D with them was beautiful. But the artist takes it further with their fun and unique style. Every character is wonderfully expressive, and even if one of them doesn’t speak for several panels, you never wonder how they’re feeling. This is complemented by the solid letter work from Myers. The text is always clear and legible.  The segments that take place within the game are equally easy to read.  They are further distinguished through grey text boxes to keep the two sides of the story clear.

Overall I really enjoyed The Last Session #1 and am excited to see where the story goes next. The characters feel like real people, and I felt an immediate attachment to them when I started reading this story. The art is lovely and celebrates the diversity of the group with living, breathing characters. If you’re a member of a longtime TTRPG group or just like nerdy interpersonal relationship stories, then this one is worth your money.

The Last Session #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on December 1st, 2021.


The Last Session #1
4.5

TL;DR

The characters feel like real people, and I felt an immediate attachment to them when I started reading this story. The art is lovely and celebrates the diversity of the group with living, breathing characters.