Review: Last Man Standing: Killbook of a Bounty Hunter

This book has been something the stuff of legend over the last couple of years. Released at Comic Con in 2010, it was then described as a “bible” to an upcoming story that reportedly would cover three extensive graphic novel tomes. Long story short, the book sold out and achieved a cult status. Also Paramount Pictures picked up the rights of the story even though there is no story, just this “Killbook”. What was it that all the people who saw this intrigued them so? Cut to today, Dark Horse is re-releasing the original “Killbook” with several additional pages added in for enhancement.  I have read it…It took some time as it’s over 270 pages long. I read, I took notes, I prepared for this review.  What is my verdict????

I don’t know if “Holy Shit” can be used to describe what I read within this book, but that is what I kept saying to myself with every turn of the page. I said it again the second time I went through it. I am pretty sure that I will say the same thing when I read this a third time. My short answer to my review is that I see why Paramount went gaga over it and I see why it developed such a cult status. The long answer… well I do not think that there are enough pages to describe my complete thoughts to this book. I guess I could say that creator and writer Dan Luvisi has made a masterpiece, and we haven’t even read page one of what would be considered an actual story. “Holy Shit”. That’s incredible.

The “Killbook” is just that… The personal scrapbook of Gabriel, a supersoldier from 600 years in the future who is the war hero, the ordained “Protector of Amerika”, the fallen superstar, the brutal murderer, the prisoner, the escapee, the vengeance seeker, and I think that I would add the “human” to the mix as when you go through the entire book, you see elements of Gabriel’s humanity (as well as his sheer toughness).

You see, Gabriel, the supersoldier and ordained Protector of Amerika was framed. A group known as Pandemonium set him up and brought him down.  It is also learned that the company responsible for his creation likewise has power beyond imagination and what may have started as good intentions has evolved into evil greed.  While tucked away, tortured and waiting to die in a true Hell on Earth Level 9 prison, an employee of that company provides Gabriel with correspondence and information. He promises more after he escapes from his Level 9 facility which must be done by Gabriel alone.  I don’t think this gives away any of the story, but Gabriel does escape and receives said promised additional information.  The Killbook we are reading is the piecing of that correspondence, secret files, dossiers, magazine articles, covers, advertisements, tickets, pictures, personal notes, etc. etc.)

This could possibly be the most extensive description of a story before it has become a story that has ever been written.  It is an innovative, impressive (Hey, it’s 270+ pages), and I have to say it, AWESOME creation. Quite possibly the most awesome that I have encountered.  It is incredibly realistic and engulfing. We are introduced to this future world, its politics, its businesses, its science (super soldiers, hybrid people, etc.) and its very essence. I have never encountered such a detailed depiction as this.

It’s like you are walking down the street and you happen to find this beaten up book on the sidewalk. You pick it up and read it. It’s that real folks. And that is even with characters that are sharkman hybrids, hip hop superstar resistance leaders, dangerous psychotic female assassins, and monstrous cyborgs. It even has kid art depictions in it.

This book is not cheap, it’s not small, and it’s not even a story as of yet. But it is the most thorough, concise, realistic, entertaining, and amazing thing that I think I have ever seen in comics. I could only imagine that this is how people felt the first time that the Watchmen comic was released. Part of Watchmen’s appeal was the additional “extras” given such as book excerpts, interviews, and of course, pirate fiction. That stuff was positively groundbreaking during that time, and Last Man Standing: Killbook of a Bounty Hunter is positively groundbreaking now. If this is the future of comics (and I think it just might be), Then my advice is to get it now. The $60 investment is minor compared to what it could be. “Holy Shit”, it’s amazing!

Score: 5/5

Writer/Artist/Creator: Dan Luvisi Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $59.99 Release Date:  11/20/13