The Last God #1 (DC Comics)
The second new Black Label title this week, The Last God is decidedly different from the other Black Label titles on the shelf. For one, it doesn’t feature The Joker or any other DC heroes, and for two, it’s an original dark fantasy series. One would argue that this is the first real test for the Black Label line, where if Last God can succeed as a book without the help of established DC properties, then the title could really flourish. And after reading the first issue from Phillip Kennedy Johnson and Riccardo Federicci, I see no reason to think that the book and the line as a whole won’t be a big success.
The kingdom of Cain Anuun has known peace for decades, thanks in part to the defeat of the Last God by their king, Tyr. Flourishing under the new rule, King Tyr has grown pretty weary, watching over gladiator matches that depict his great defeat of the evil he and his allies fought against. Eyvindr, the crowd favorite of the gladiators, is on his final match to win his freedom. But that chance at a free life is cut short when the fabled Last God arrives once more, creating a host of gruesome creatures to do his bidding.
It’s always hard to start up a brand new fantasy story, but Phillip Kennedy Johnson’s on the right track with Last God. While it does get a little info dumpy, Johnson uses his script to pepper in some revelations about the story of Tyr’s rise to power that already cast a lot of doubt on the validity of his story, which makes for a pretty intriguing narrative. There’s not quite as much character development as I would have liked, but it all makes for a pretty engaging story regardless.
Riccardo Federrici’s art really pulls you into this world, and his dark colors highlight some truly unique and original fantasy creature designs. I was pretty stunned by some of the art in this book, and it really makes for a comic that looks like nothing else on the stands. It’s really a sight to behold, and should this title make an impact, I expect Federrici to be in high demand for future projects.
The Last God has a lot riding on it for the future of original Black Label content, but it’s off to a pretty strong start, and only shows signs of improving from there. As much as I’ve enjoyed a lot of the Black Label line, it’s refreshing to see a title from the imprint that isn’t just another out of continuity Batman or Joker tale. If anything, Last God shows off the potential of the Black Label line, and could be an indication of where the line will go from here.