Review: The Last of Us – American Dreams #2 (of 4)

I haven’t had any hands on time with this game (not that I could if I wanted to), but I’m already a big fan of the property. I’m even holding on to my PS3 just to play it (no fucking way I’m buying a first gen PS4). In the meantime, I have this bad ass comic book to keep me content. While this issue doesn’t have as much meat and potatoes as the first issue, it’s very good and worth the read… even if it’s just for Hicks artwork. The issue opens with Ellie and Riley running across roof tops with Riley leading the way. Riley stops for a moment to give Ellie a chance to breathe and they chat for a minute. Riley is thinking a lot about her future as her sixteenth birthday approaches. The way society works is after your sixteenth birthday you have to join the military and Riley doesn’t want that to be her only option. They arrive at their destination after traveling the rest of the way in silence and low and behold… it’s a mall. Teenagers, I tell ya, always at the damn mall.

The Last of Us American Dream #2Once inside Ellie begins running around and showing her age as she sees and experiences things she’s never witnessed before. She cutely imitates a mannequin finding the pose to be bizarre. They find an old arcade and they exchange stories about games. It sounds like Riley actually played the game she talks about, but Ellie speaks about hers as if she heard stories about it from other children. It’s very interesting and unique twist on the desolate future scenario. After that Ellie pictures what the arcade looked like back in its prime and as she sees children laughing and playing she warns them that “it’s coming…” and then eerily pictures the same group of kids murdered. It’s pretty fucking creepy.

Really this issue is just a handful of character moments and the kickoff of the plot line of Riley joining the Fireflies. It’s good in the sense that we get a feel of how the world has affected the current generation of children, but that’s kind of it. I don’t know if it really needed to be anything else, but the story was very linear in this issue. I really enjoyed Ellie’s demented imagination as it leads to the question of whether children could ever grow up normal in that situation. My gut says no since killing would be so easy for them that literally a generation of murdering, pick-pocket sociopaths would likely be the outcome.

Let’s see, what else can I possibly say about the art that I didn’t gush about with the first issue review. It’s as solid and fantastic as the first issue and I highly doubt that it’s going to change. Riley has a huge range of emotions in this issue. She starts off cocky and confident as we found her in the last issue, but slowly she begins to spiral towards typical lost teenager emotions. Ellie on the other hand is the complete opposite as she is happy, cheerful and most of all adventurous. The girls are polar opposites and it works very well for the story, but it’s mostly conveyed through the art with their facial expressions.

I’m pretty sure something massive is going to go down in the next issue and the anticipation is only amplified with this seemingly basic issue. What this issue truly does, is give you a baseline of what passes as normal in this world so that when it destroys it… you’ll fully appreciate what once was. This is definitely one of, if not the best video game adaptations ever told in comics… and the game isn’t even out yet. It’s got me hyped for two things: the next issue and the game, bring them both on I say.

Score: 4/5

Writers: Neil Druckmann and Faith Erin Hicks Artist: Faith Erin Hicks Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 5/29/13