I’m one of those readers that really enjoys the world that’s created in a comic. Be it something new dropped into our world or an entirely new society and world created from the ground up. It’s honestly one of the biggest reasons I read comic because new worlds are always being created. With the Last Man series, I’ve noted in both my previous reviews that I love the world that the creative team has created. You can tell that the creators put in a lot of thought and built every aspect of this world. It feels real and lived in which is something incredibly important to fantasy worlds. The catch to this world is Richard Aldana. He’s this outside element and the way he acts and talks has given the reader or at least this reader, the impression that he’s from our world. As in the world you’re reading this review in. As we learn in this volume though… he’s not. He’s from a different world for sure, but it’s from an even stranger world than the one we began with.
As we saw at the end of the second volume Marianne has a secret. I mean she had to right? She seemed to understand Richard the most, but for her to reveal a motorcycle hidden in her basement… well it added a new mystery to this story. At the beginning of The Chase we see mother and son leaving the Valley of the Kings. Marianne becomes the center of our story as she finds a rift between worlds. On the other side is a desert filled with cactus. Things seem alright until the police show up.
Now I say police, but they really look like something out of Mad Max. That vibe continues as there is clearly a sense of society and world that the Mad Max universe doesn’t have, but then the police are crazy and don’t really follow any laws. In fact, they try to get physical with Marianne when she resists arrest forcing her to unleash the school of the heavens summoning. Which is something that catches her son Adrian off guard. Here he’s struggled to learn and she’s clearly very knowledgeable.
From there they find the closest town, but they stand out and run in to trouble because let’s be honest, this world is nuts. There’s so much going on in this chapter that I don’t want to sum up any more than this for you. I do want to say that the court system was amazing! Lawyers are actually wrestlers/fighters and you battle while examining evidence or questioning witnesses. It. Was. Incredible.
This chapter peels back a huge layer of the story and the world. As I said, I expected Richard’s world to be a reflection of ours, but instead it was this amped up crazier version. But it felt alive and very real. The Valley of the Kings felt safe for our main characters, but every time Richard was present it felt a bit more thrilling because you knew he didn’t belong there. Every page you were left waiting for the gig to be up. Now it’s flipped. Our world seems dangerous and scary for our main characters. Especially when the “law enforcement” was heavy on the “force.” The deck seemed stacked against them from the very beginning. We don’t know what Marianne’s endgame is, but we do know that a scorn woman is not to be messed with.
I absolutely love the character development for Marianne in this chapter. She’s no longer just the beautiful and smart mother. Her connection to her son develops and she to as a person. It may not seem like it, but it speaks more to her character that she’s been hiding her powers than it does to have them revealed all along. I also enjoyed Adrian’s character this volume as well. He’s been a realistic character from the beginning, but none more than now when he reminds you that he’s still a kid. He wants answers and he wants stuff that he sees, but he doesn’t get annoying. Rather you feel for him. You empathize with his situation more than perhaps Marianne’s or Richard’s.
With the world-changing completely there’s a risk of the art missing a beat. I mean they are diving into a new world and so what’s familiar to us now is gone, but that’s not the case here. I actually think that the creative team excelled more in this volume than the previous two which is nuts. The first two volumes were beautiful. They were like storybooks and now I think that was very intentional as this new world treats the Valley of the Kings as a myth, as a storybook land.
The volume keeps its artistic style of course, but we see it ramped up. This world is bigger and populated by more people. Its population is also quite different. The bulk of the characters we meet are prostitutes or crazy nuts from the legal system. It’s distinctly different from the Valley of the Kings and as crazy as it is, as dangerous as it seems, you still can’t help but want to visit. The art continues to be fantastic and I can’t wait to see what the fourth volume has in store.
What’s strange about this volume is that it doesn’t rely on you having read the first two volumes. It sums up what’s happened in the story with very quick story elements and believable dialogue. I know I sound mad, but you could read this volume on its own and understand and enjoy every page of it. And I think that’s incredible because clearly it’s not an accident, but something the creators were aware of. I still recommend reading the first two volumes because they’re both great on their own, but if this world sounds more interesting to you then feel free to start here. Otherwise, this is just another really impressive addition to the Last Man series and a bright spot in the dull year that 2015 has been for comics.