Last Born #1 Review

Writen by: Patrick Meaney

Art by: Eric Zawadzki

Publisher: Black Mask Studios

Show of hands, who here like surreal comics involving crazy sci-fi in the vein of “Grant Morrison”? If your hand is up then you should stick around for the rest of this review, as this new comic from Talking with Gods director Last Born may be just the sort of thing for you.

This being Meaney’s comic writing debut I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect, but he does a very fine job in this first issue. What Meaney understands most is that in order to make these sort of crazy sci-fi tales work you have to have a person at the centre of it to anchor all the insane stuff, luckily he pens a very sympathetic protagonist in the character Julia. Her struggles as a woman trying to achieve independence in 1961 instantly gets the reader on her side and her relationship with her father, who suffers from a condition similar to dementia, seems genuine and should feel familiar for anyone who has ever had to deal with a situation like that.

By establishing Julia in the first half, Meaney is able to then completely flip the story on its head and deliver all sort of craziness after that. It seems that making a film about Grant Morrison has definitely had an impact on Meaney as his style seems very similar. Anyone who has ever read a Morrison comic will understand what I mean whenever they read the issue, though it’s hard to discuss here without spoiling anything. Let’s just say I liked it, and fans of Morrison should really enjoy what Meaney’s putting together here.

Zawadzki manages to depict this world in a beautiful and highly surreal way that completely pulled the rug out from under my feet. His art initially seemed perfectly serviceable and his characters displayed emotions well, even if they did look a bit rough in some places; whenever it comes to drawing the other worldly elements however he completely turns it up to 11. His framing of the story becomes very cinematic in that special way that only comics can be, the linear progression and panelling is completely dissolved. The colours aid this perfectly, looking very stark and strange, contrasting perfectly with the normal, grounded stuff. They really make the art pop and tie the whole package together.

The only negative is that right now it’s kind of hard to tell where the story will go from here. A lot of elements are introduced rapidly towards the end which make me wonder just how much of what I read in this issue will be relevant down the line. It’s a small complaint however, and one that’s par for the course with monthly comics, the issue still leaves plenty of intrigue and guarantees I’ll be back next month to find out more. So this is one I’d definitely recommend, there’s plenty of room for Meaney and Zawadzki to go from here and with the introduction out of the way I’m hoping the next issue can continue to build on the strange elements glimpsed in this issue.