Book review: Last Man #1 and #2, by Balak, Michaël Sanlaville, and Bastien Vivès

Balak, Michaël Sanlaville, and Bastien Vivès. Last Man: The Stranger. [Last Man, #1]. Trans. by Alexis Siegel. First Second. 2015. $9.99. 207p. 978-1-62672-046-6. Ages 15+

Balak, Michaël Sanlaville, and Bastien Vivès. Last Man: The Royal Cup. [Last Man, #2]. Trans. by Alexis Segal. First Second. 2015. $9.99. 207p. 978-1-62672-047-3. Ages 15+

Balak Last Man 1In this import from France, Stranger introduces fighter Richard Aldana to school boy Adrian, who partners with him in the Annual Games, much to the concern of Adrian’s attractive mother. In the gladiatorial contest, everyone uses magical methods to win except the cigarette-smoking mysterious tough guy who arrived in town on a motorcycle. Aldana never learns the rules of the fight, and they are never explained to the reader. Adrian wants to win the gold to care for his single mother but isn’t a very good fighter. Black and white drawings display combat choreography as the unlikely partners use brain and brawn to outwit magic-wielding Lord Ignacio Cudna and Cristo Canyon in a combination of modern and medieval world. The story is communicated through their body language and a rich tapestry of movement.

Balak Last Man 2

The Royal Cup continues the contest and intrigue as more about Aldana is revealed while much is kept hidden. The projected twelve volumes are published for adults, but it will have great appeal for upper-level high school students as well. P9Q9

Summer 2015 reviews by Nel Ward.

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