by Ed Brisson, Lisandro Estherren, and Niko Guardia
Brand new from BOOM! Studios comes The Last Contract. Long after he was out of the game, the book’s lead character finds that he cannot escape his past. What starts as a home invasion takes the man on a journey to find out who is after him and why. The opening issue is the right balance of tension and mystery, making for an excellent start.
Never named, the lead here is past his prime and looking to be left alone. The man who the audience is introduced to lives alone, excluding his dog, and seems content to keep it that way. Brisson does an excellent job introducing him to readers, using simple cues in the dialogue between he and Jolene at the start of the story to give readers just enough indication of where this individual stands. Only moments later the primary plot takes over. Though the pacing of the story never quite feels fast, there is still an undercurrent and urgency. Brisson’s script grabs readers and instantly invests them in the story. Questions undoubtedly flood in about what exactly is happening, why, and what might come next, but not ever in a way that hinders the story.
On art, Lisandro Estherren and Niko Guardia match Brisson at every point. The book has a fantastic atmosphere, which is largely the result of some fantastic work from these two. Estherren’s style is just a bit loose, a bit raw, which helps keep the book from every reaching a moment of calm or settling. Guardia, likewise, layers a wonderful aesthetic across the pages. The colors, which have a murky vibe to them, really help evoke the sense that these moments are happening in the deepest hours of the day. Readers really feel the quiet and isolation through the light that Guardia captures in so many of these moments. It lets the story hit even heavier, as the man and Burrell sit on the bank of a body of water, the threat of death lying underneath the entire exchange.
The simplicity of the story’s premise is a large part of the success here. A log of past hits has fallen into bad hands and may be released to the public. It details every hit arranged, the targets, dates, and locations, as well as who called in the job. Burrell makes the only move he thinks to make, leaving the man to figure out just who is ordering the hit and what motivation they’d have to seek him out twenty years into his retirement. The Last Contract delivers on every level. This-mini series is off to a wonderful start.