First Second’s Last Man series is a translation of the cult French comic book of the same name. The previous two volumes focused on boxing hero Richard Aldana, a man who fought in an arena filled with the fantastic without relying on magic. He’s assisted by his friend Marianne and a young sidekick-in-training called Adrian. The last two books were all about Richard, but The Chase is all about what happens when Richard is gone.
The tale instead puts Marianne and Adrian front and centre. Roaring into action on the back of a rather sweet looking motorbike, the pair find themselves in an entirely different world, coping with entirely new threats, all the while looking for Richard. From the beginning to the end, this is a race; the heroes stumbling from various hazards until the end.
This pace sort of works, but there isn’t a lot of time for either character development or world building. What we get instead is an ever-growing stack of ridiculous characters, each with their own singular remarkable trait. The narrative piles on the silly situations on top of the drama, until various key plot points are revealed. There is some social satire here, but not much. Luckily. the pace is fast enough to gloss over the flaws.
Last Man Volume 3: The Chase is a curious mix of manga art and French sensibilities. Some of the key plot elements feel very European, but the outlandish characters are very Manga in style and approach. The loose art style suits the story, but there is a sore lack of set pieces, meaning that the artists never really get a chance to shine.
The main issue with this book is that it’s the middle chapter in an ongoing series, and thus lacks a proper beginning or end. As part of a greater whole, Last Man Volume 3: The Chase is a great part of a continuing action adventure series, but as a stand-alone book, it doesn’t quite deliver. Read Last Man from the beginning if you get the chance.
LAST MAN VOLUME 3: THE CHASE / AUTHORS: BASTIEN VIVES, MICHAEL SANLAVILLE, BALAK / PUBLISHER: FIRST SECOND / RELEASE DATE: OCTOBER 6TH