Review: The Last of Us – American Dreams #1 (of 4)

I’m probably the wrong person to review this book due to my completely biased fanboyisim for Faith Erin Hicks and everything that she does, but never the less here we are. Dark Horse shipped this book early, possibly due to the outstanding response that the title has had and I’m not one to complain about an early book. None of us will know how it compares to the game until its release, but I can say that it’s a fantastic comic for sure.

If you followed our preview then you know a little of how the story begins, but you may be unfamiliar with the world that the story is set in. It takes place before the events of the upcoming video game which begins nineteen years after a fungal outbreak has changed the world. We meet our main character Ellie as she rides a bus to a military prep school that all kids are required to go to after their thirteenth birthday. She exits the bus with the other kids and a soldier stops her. He tells her to behave herself at the school because he won’t be there to help her anymore. She asks the man to take her with him, but he says he can’t due to his own family to look after. She brushes him off and heads inside to meet her first fight.

Literally Ellie is in a fight with a boy that has tried to go through her stuff which she guards with her life. His friend steps in to help him, but Ellie is fearless and doesn’t back down for a second. She calls him a chickenshit for not fighting her one on one. The boy winds up to decker her when someone grabs his arm stopping him. Her name is Riley, but it will be a while before the two are properly introduced. She beats the shit out of both boys and begins to chat up Ellie. Ellie obviously doesn’t play well with others giving her savior the cold shoulder instantly. What I enjoyed about this moment is that it’s not like Ellie is trying to act tough or even ungrateful, it’s more of a “who’s next” attitude. She views Riley as much of a threat to her belongings as she did the two boys and she’s willing to take her on as well. They don’t fight though, as Riley tells her to run and takes off leaving Ellie to be busted by the principle.

I’ve been excited about this series since its announcement and it did not disappoint. To be frank, I will probably buy the game day one just because of this comic book. Granted, they are two different beasts, but from what I’ve seen of both it will be a worthy purchase.

The writing is superb and Ellie is a fierce leading female character, but she is not the only one. Riley is also a strong female character and there is a mystery to her. She’s smarter than the other kids and knows more about the outside world as well. The dialog is quick and memorable and hits all of the right chords.

I wish that Hicks could draw every comic book I read. There is something fantastic about her style that I never grow tired of. Her character designs are familiar in this series compared to her other works, but with that said they still manage to be their own characters. Riley and Ellie’s personality nuances are established very early on with just their facial expressions. Riley consistently closes her eyes while talking to Ellie, but only when she’s being cocky. Ellie has a constant look of distrust on her face around others, but this quickly drops when she’s alone or dealing with adults. The art fits the story perfectly.

I’m glad that this book shipped early. I’ve been dying to read it and now that excitement has begun again for the next issue. I don’t know what to expect from the next issue and I don’t care. I’m along for the ride and enjoying the journey. This comic has not only successfully whet my appetite for the game, but it manages to show that strong female characters can exist without compromising themselves or running around in their underwear. If you missed this book go to your comic shop right now and buy it. NOW!

Score: 5/5

Writers: Neil Druckmann and Faith Erin Hicks

Artist: Faith Erin Hicks

Publisher: Dark Horse Comics

Price: $3.99

Release Date: 4/3/13