Writer: Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Artist: Riccardo Federici, Colorist: Sunny Gho with Dean White, Letterer: Tom Napolitano, Cover: Kai Carpenter.
DC’s Black Label, the line of adult-oriented comics outside of normal DC continuity, takes its first journey into the fantasy genre, with Phillip K. Johnson’s creation, The Last God, The Fellspyre Chronicles, Book One.
From the very first pages of background history, Johnson’s creation seems derivative of George Martin’s Game of Thrones, another medieval world that substitutes the Plague of Flowers for the White Walker zombie hordes that threaten to destroy the world of man (and assimilate them), as the mightiest human warrior Tyr bests the Plague's “Last God” (the Night King) in battle to defeat the infectious horde. Even the Last God's head looks derivative, a virtual copy of Sauron’s spiky head and glowing eyes from Lord Of The Rings. As to be expected, the conquering hero is made king (just like Robert Baratheon in GoT).
Riccardo Federici’s art style is attractive, organic, and sketchy, and immediately reminded me of fellow Italian artist Paolo Eleuteri Serpieri (of Druuna fame). His layouts are different on each page, maintaining visual interest. Sunny Gho’s muted color palette integrates perfectly with the medieval/Dark Ages art, creating mood and atmosphere. However, letterer Tom Napolitano's attempt at an organic font feels clunky and distracting.
Warrior Tyr faces the Last God of the Plague of Flowers in the opening flashback scene
The Plague of Flowers returns
Many years later, Tyr still hides a dark secret from that heroic battle. And the horde, assumed defeated for good in that long-ago battle, is returning with a vengeance (Winter is Coming!).
I didn’t see much about this book that would make it adult-oriented under the Black Label. But since Black Label is also taking the place of the recently shuttered Vertigo line, I suppose any title that doesn’t fit into regular DC continuity gets published there, whether it’s mature reading or not.
People unfamiliar with Game of Thrones will enjoy thirty pages of beautifully illustrated fantasy…while GoT fans will just shake their heads and try to take it as the sincerest form of flattery…
“The Last God, Book One” from DC Black Label, is on sale October 30, 2019.