Writer: Aubrey Sitterson
Artist: Fico Ossio
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dark Horse
Dark Horse’s newest addition to their comic book roster, tells the story of heroes after they have won their final battle. While the villains in other superhero comic keep coming back and new antagonists arise from the old one’s ashes, here there seem to be no villains left. Except for the ones we carry around inside of us. Can No One Left to Fight #1 bring something new to the table, or does the story fall head first into the trap of stereotypes and clichés?
The first thing that greets you after opening this book is the gorgeous art. A full-page spread of our protagonist walking into the city as the sun begins to set on the day. Bright colors, details as far as the eye can see, great designs for the city and vehicles alike start the story with a bang.
The story begins on a positive note and already plays with expectations and how to subvert them. But it is not just for the sake of surprising the reader, because if you look closely and pay attention to the details, you can guess what might come at the next page-turn. It is something that does not ruin the surprise but makes for a fun journey through the world and its (diverse?) set of characters. It invites the reader to go through the issue repeatedly.
However, not all is sunshine and rainbows. As the story progresses, so does the journey into the hearts and minds of the protagonists. Each stare, each gesture, every interaction they have – everything hints at a rich history. They fought together, saved the world together, and now they have to figure out who they are without the fight. Some cope better with the new status quo than others, but they all struggle.
Unfortunately, the author Aubrey Sitterson doesn’t give us a time frame – when did they defeat their last villain? But maybe that detail is not necessary for us to have. The essential parts of No One Left to Fight #1 are the characters, as they cling to the past like a lion on its prey. Some more than others. Krysta and Timór, for example, have to take care of their family. While Vâle, the supposed main character, tries to relive the best parts of his life. My favorite of the bunch, however, has to be Fargan VI, who could turn out to be an exciting addition to the cast. Hopefully, he can leave his status as a side character behind in the coming issues.
After the characters introduction and their initial interactions, we get to the meat of the story. There is deep-rooted jealousy between Vâle and Timór, for example. Something they have seemingly struggled with for years. Not just jealousy because of relationships, but also regarding their last big fight. For now, I can understand the resentment and anger the characters experience. After all, they meet each other for the first time since who knows how long.
That being said, I hope that we move on from these aspects of the story and explore more parts of the characters psyche. What are they going through? How does the world react to heroes when they are no longer needed? And what about Vâle’s mysterious visions?
Art-wise I have no complaints whatsoever. The style of Fico Ossio is magnificent on so many levels. The manga-like drawings with hints at Dragonball – especially during fight scenes – is very much appreciated. And while the art at first glance might seem rough, the longer you look at it, the more details you see. I also love what Fico Ossio does with facial expressions and body language. It adds a subtly to the story and allows the reader to go beyond the spoken words.
Speaking of words: the lettering is also strong and mostly fits the situations perfectly. For me, too many of the words are written in bold letters, which, at times, leads to strange articulations. But other than that Taylor Esposito manages to add to the Dragonball impressions.
No One Left to Fight #1 sets up an intriguing world, with fascinating characters. Each of them comes with a rich history, which results in some conflicts that we need to explore throughout the next issues. After reading the first installment, the story could go both ways: either a remarkable, intimate tale into a heroes psyche or an exciting premise that quickly falls apart because of a strange emphasis. I am leaning towards the first one and will be glad to pick up issue #2.