By Landy Q. Walker, Justin Greenwood, Eric Jones & Patrick Brosseau
The Last Siege is a clear example of a comic having a solid or intriguing premise, but fails in its execution to deliver the promise of that basis. Siege is set in a non-specific medieval time and place, where a cruel ruler has seized control of all the lands, except for one last house, thus the title’s meaning comes into full view. This issue revolves around a mysterious outsider who enters the walls of this hold and upsets the malevolent status quo, which invariably sets in motion a chain of events that will heavily drive the series forward.
Overall, this comic totes the narrative line with practically every genre trope one would expect, which greatly affects the reading experience – nothing is a surprise. A first issue is meant to engage readers and provide a strong taste of the grand scheme of what the series will be about. Instead, the audience is given the plot of a stranger with katanas, which appears to be tactless appropriation at this point, who saves the town single-handedly basically. Even the dialog is generic and fails to provide any of the characters with a real voice or depth. Then the “cliffhanger,” after all of this, just falls flat because everything was telegraphed to a tee. Nothing is left to the imagination and the artwork doesn’t quite sell the concept either.
Justin Greenwood does his best to deliver a foreboding, oppressive visual narrative, but it falls apart due to inconsistencies in his work. He seems to cut corners with details in the setting and background, which could have made the materiel much more visceral and attractive. Greenwood does well with character expressions and gestures, but when it comes to sequential action storytelling, he has much to improve. There is a bar brawl where the stranger is shown holding/using a bottle and through three panels the motions make absolutely no sense and the bottle switches hands, for some reason. For an artist from an Image title to not be able to properly show the flow of basic actions nor have consistency is troubling to say the least. Even more troubling is that it made through all the checks to be able to be published…
The only two components that seem to work in The Last Siege are the color work and the lettering. Eric Jones is able to deliver on the intended bleak tone. He does his best to set a moody atmosphere and provide what depth he can with the art given. It feels appropriate, not quite outstanding, but solid work. Patrick Brosseau uses a font that is rugged and unrefined, invoking a sense of age and uncivilization. It’s an interesting choice that seems to give the book a bit of, excuse the pun, an edge.
The Last Siege appears to be one of those Image titles that isn’t quite up to par with the majority of the books published under this banner. Again, the concept works on paper, but the final product on paper is totally different story. Readers who want to read a comic in this genre and aren’t picky, then, by all means, pick this comic up. For those who want a book with a little substance, be wary of this title, appearances can be deceiving.