Writer: Aubrey Sitterson
Artists and Cover Art: Fico Ossio and Raciel Avila
Letterer: Taylor Esposito
Publisher: Dark Horse
No One Left to Fight tells the story of a group of heroes who have defeated their last villain, fought their last battles, and won the last war against evil. But what do they do, when everything they trained for their entire lives is gone, has vanished? What does the plan look like after that? Will people still be thankful after years of peace and quiet? Will they even remember who they were before? In a world where villains are a thing of the past, the former heroes have to find new identities, new purposes.
As the single issues of No One Left to Fight came out last year, I covered the entire series (You can find those reviews here: #1, #2, #3, #4, #5). The story was intriguing and offered an in-depth look into the protagonists’ psyche. The creative team was also kind enough to do two interviews with RoguesPortal, which you can find here and here.
However, today I want to talk about the first volume, which, yes, consists of the first five issues of the series. I find this to be an exciting experiment because usually, I read either the single issues of a series or the trade, but not both. But a trade has a different rhythm than single issues. You read it faster, and the cliffhangers don’t matter that much, because the resolution waits on the next page. So, how does the story work in this format? Is it still the “comic you always wanted”? Let’s find out.
First things first: No One Left to Fight is definitely a series you can read at least twice just so you can pick up the details and nuances the creative team put into the story. They foreshadow characters left and right, but because of the casual conversation where those names are dropped, I didn’t necessarily think twice about them. They enriched the story as a whole and brought depth to the world and its characters. Still, on a reread, you know what is going to happen, the characters, their names, and a few places sound familiar to the ears.
I find this particularly interesting, because not everything and everyone who is named gets to be in this first story-arc. I like the slice-of-life aspect of the story very much. It suggests a more profound and long history of those characters. They have gone through a lot, and it shows not only in the conversations they have but also in the body language. For example, Timór’s jealousy towards Vâle can be felt throughout the series but fades into the background as other themes get more important for the story.
Speaking of fading into the background: Each time I thought to myself, “Okay, that’s enough now,” the story shifts its focus and does not dwell on certain aspects too long. Be it the constant change of scenery, Timór’s aforementioned jealously, or the introduction of new characters in each issue. The story finds a balance which is nice to see and works properly in the trade, despite its faster pace. Timór’s feelings, for example, are not entirely in his imagination; just look at how Harga treats him for going his own path. Everything the characters feel and how they behave seems to be grounded on “real” events that took place. It makes everything comprehensible.
You can also find those nuances within the artwork. I love Krysta and Timór’s relationship. They don’t need to speak about everything; sometimes a look is enough. They get each other and built a life without the need to be heroes. It’s something Vâle strives for, but cannot reach. He is a prisoner without knowing it, trapped by his achievements as well as his inability to move on and let go. From the first page, this statement is ingrained in this first arc. The whole point of visiting certain characters and places comes from Vâle’s need to revisit places that once gave him a purpose. His body language suggests that also. He never looks really happy. Even when Winda wants to be more than just former colleagues and friends, his whole body is uneasy. He does not know how to handle other beings unless he can fight them.
These are just some aspects I love about this series. This may sound a bit bleak and serious, as there would be no hope or joy in this series, but the exact opposite is true. Despite the underlying seriousness, the entire trip is fun, light, and look at the bright colors; they tell you exactly what to expect from the story as well.
I could go on and on about the things I love in this series, be it the costume design, the creatures who inhabit these strange lands, or the lettering, which is to die for. All those separate elements perfectly come together and deliver a comic you want to read. There is but one downside in those five issues: Not enough Fargan VI. If you don’t know what I am talking about, just read the first three pages and fall in love.