Writer: Aubrey Sitterson
Artist: Fico Ossio
Color Artists: Fico Ossio with Raciel Avila
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dark Horse
The final issue of No One Left to Fight has arrived. In the first one, we got introduced to the protagonists and the question of what heroes do after their final battle. Then, Vâle and his former colleagues and friends decided to take a road trip through a beautiful landscape and down memory lane, to the place where they used to train and live: Mistress Harga’s orphanage. After a heart-to-heart and a meet-up with a villain, they had to leave and continue their journey. Finally, in the previous issue, they arrived at the Arboreal Sanctum and disturbed Quon and Kaya’s chosen exile from the world and their fights. Unfortunately, no one can hide from destiny.
Each of the previous issues took us deeper down the rabbit hole, filled with stories we do not know (yet) and characters who have a history together. They fought together, trusted each other, and finally defeated the last bad guy. But the Hierophant (if he even was one of their last villains) used the time since then wisely: collecting artifacts and power, thinking about strategies to convince Vâle to join him, and defeat the heroes once and for all. Is he responsible for Vâle’s visions? Or are they someone else’s feat entirely? Whoever it might be, this issue leaves no time to think about such things. Heroes are needed again; there is someone left to fight.
Let’s start with the cover. Every cover so far has introduced us to new characters — beginning with Vâle, then Winda, and the Hierophant. This time, another villain has entered the stage. Bruton has returned from the grave. The cover breathes chaos and destruction. Vâle and Timór lie defeated in the background. Trees are burning. Bruton looks directly at the reader — are we his next targets? The comic has not yet been opened, but the stage is set, and a dark fate awaits our heroes.
After that, our trusted narrator, Billy Von Katz, recaps the last issue in his usual witty style. It lightens the mood a bit. Therefore, the first page of the comic itself hits hard. It feels like a continuation of the cover. Bruton jumps towards the reader, his giant bat lifted over his head, ready for battle. It is a splash-page which perfectly encapsulates the entirety of the comic and story. Speed-lines suggest the direction of his movements, giant letters are used for sound effects, the background gets blurry — has it begun to rain?
The creative team dedicated about 25 pages to the fight (almost the entire issue), and it never feels dragged out or dull. The opposite is true. The combat feels fresh, dynamic, and engaging. Aubrey Sitterson used the last four issues to show us the cores of each main character. We know them, their troubles, and maybe even their desires. The climax, the fight in this issue, seems earned — necessary even. Not just for the sake of the readers, but also for the characters. They can let go of some frustration and don’t need to hold back anymore. They are back to their old lives again, even if it might just be for a moment. The world needs them. Heroes fighting the bad guys. Just like the old days.
This last (?) issue checks all the Dragonball markers: big muscles getting bigger, massive energy blasts, silly sounds coming out of the characters’ mouths, and a lot of action. Many pages consist of splash-pages; panels are stacked upon each other; characters and their blasts break panel borders — chaos reeks in the Arboreal Sanctum and on the comicbook pages. But Fico Ossio always manages to give us a good sense of what is going on and where the characters are in relation to each other. It makes sense. He also plays with tropes we know from other stories, and even if you don’t know them, it’s just fun to watch. He even manages to sneak in some fresh and innovative ways to show the speed of the fight. Great stuff.
But the details within the panels and the design of the pages would quickly fall apart without the coloring by Ossio himself and Raciel Avila. Every scene, location, and character gets their own color palette, which makes it easy to tell them apart when ten things happen at the same time. It just looks beautiful. Taylor Esposito’s lettering makes the cherry on top. I mentioned the sound effects before, which give the entire issue a loud and dense atmosphere — perfect for such a fast-paced, violent read. He really gets to let loose, and at some point speech balloons change style and color (don’t worry, no spoilers). This effect fits the story and the current state of the characters. The single elements of this comic complement each other; it is a joy reading it.
However, don’t think this issue is one clearly visible line from beginning to end. Even though there are parts inspired by Dragonball and other mangas, the creative team shows that they are capable of doing their own thing. Some twists and turns await the reader along the way.
The only downside: it ends way too soon, which is just cruel. But the journey we’ve made through the last five issues feels complete at the end. Even though some questions remain unanswered, it’s best to end on a high note. Whatever might come next marks the beginning of another arc. Maybe we even get to discover the world of No One Left to Fight from another perspective. Or perhaps this really is the end of it all?