By Dustin Cabeal
The Last Arrival left me with a strange feeling. I wasn’t quite sure I liked it, but I definitely wanted to read more. At the very least I would say that The Last Arrival has accomplished the hardest feat in comic books, making someone want to come back for the next issue. Seriously, that’s not an easy feat and probably even harder to accomplish with someone like me.
The story introduces us to five aliens and says that they’ve been selected to scout a habitable planet for their species to make a new home. Instantly there’s a comparison to a lot of current sci-fi literature currently in the market. As we rush to kill our own planet, we stop and think about if there’s another planet out there that we can fuck up. The twist, of course, being that these are alien beings, at least alien to us, and they’re searching for a new planet.
We’re introduced to the five main characters and what they’re good out, what they can do to serve the mission. They kind of look like a family at first, but when it’s established that they’re not, it becomes Adam and Eve combined with Noah’s Arc. Where the story struggles is with the pacing. There are quick hits of exposition, i.e., when the characters are introduced. Then there’s a lot of time and panels spent with one of the characters moping and another character comforting him. Towards the middle and end the story starts jumping ahead. With comics, we see so much of it as still frames, and our minds make the movement, but with The Last Arrival, you jump so far ahead that you stop and question how the kids suddenly got form fitting space suits. How did they get to that location so quickly and when was it established that they have communication with each other?
The dialogue isn’t bad, but there are more than a couple exposition strings throughout the issue. One, in particular, was covered by the art, but then a character announces it out loud almost to make sure there are no mistakes in what’s happening. Only two of the characters develop throughout the course of the issue, and it’s the two with the long conversation at the beginning. The first issue would have been better served if every character was developed like this and it would have controlled the pacing more.
When it comes to the artwork, it’s a strange bedfellow. Maybe it’s the coloring that gives it this dark look that drowns out the details on the characters or the inking. It’s likely a combination of the two. The line work is jagged and rough throughout the issue, but particularly bad in the backgrounds. It stands out which is obviously the opposite of what a background should do. The characters have nice designs, unique in many ways, but the details are lost. It’s unfortunate that the artwork didn’t have a better composition. There are two conflicting styles going on, and it ends up hurting the comic rather than enriching it.
All this said I’m still curious about this story. The premise and outcome of this issue left me wanting more. I have no idea when the second issue will be available. I doubt there will be any drastic changes to the story or artwork by then meaning if you like this without complaints then you’ll continue to do so, and if it’s not your cup of tea, it won’t be in the future either. For me, I’m waiting to see what the second issue brings to the table.
Score: 3/5 Available on Kickstarter
The Last Arrival #1
Writer: Daniel Prim
Pencils/Inks: Gergely Szabó
Colorist: Szabrina Maharita
Letterer: Toben Racicot
Publisher: Free Fantasy Comics