Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Last Man, Book 2: The Royal Cup

The first volume of this series ended with a cliffhanger, which is resolved here in dramatic and exciting fashion. The formerly overmatched Adrian finds the strength and ability to hold his own in the competition, and the motley duo finds themselves a measure of fame from their tournament exploits. I don't want to give too much away, but a lot happens in this book: success gives us some insight into these characters, a flirtation blossoms into some romantic episodes, and we learn a lot more about Richard Saldana and what a jerk he might actually be.
As you can see from the excerpt above, the action sequences are great, giving a clear sequence of events and also building up suspense and mystery. This artwork is emblematic of the story in this book as well. The plot is breath-takingly fast, with multiple revelations, mysteries uncovered, and other mysteries created. I don't know exactly where this series is going, but I am definitely along for the ride.

Like I noted in my review of book one, the three creators behind this book all come from different field: Balak is a noted animator who also does some digital comics work. Michaël Sanlaville is a video game designer, and Bastien Vivès is an award winning comics artist. All three creators speak more about this volume and where this series might be going in this series of interviews.

I have not seen many reviews of this book of yet, but the ones I have read are very positive. I find so much to agree with in Seth T. Hahne's take on the book, that it follows "in one of my favourite manga traditions by decimating what I had imagined was status quo. By the end of the volume, we realize that the last two volumes are mere prologue for what should prove to be a much larger, more satisfying story. And I am blisteringly excited to watch it unfold." Caro called the artwork "opulence given form."

The Royal Cup was published in the US by First Second, and they have a preview and much more here. Because there are more sexual situations in this book than the first, I would recommend it for older adolescents or readers mature enough to handle them.

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