Thursday, August 12, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: WILLIAM THE LAST: Flight & Fight #1


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

CARTOONIST: Brian Shearer – @brian_shearer
24pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (January 2019)

William the Last in a new comic book series created by cartoonist Brian Shearer.  Shearer has worked as a pencil artist, inker, or colorist on several of IDW Publishing's licensed publications, including Ghostbusters, Star Trek, and Transformers.

William the Last chronicles the adventures of an orphan who discovers that his name, “William,” is a forbidden word in a strange kingdom.  William meets Ella, a girl about his age, and she gives him the name “Jacob,” and she introduces him to her parents – her father, Magnus, and her mother, Kathran.  Ella and her people live underground, beneath a decaying kingdom that becomes aware of William's presence and wants him destroyed.

After the opening four-issue series, William the Last, Shearer debuted a second four-issue series, William the Last: Flight & Fight.  The second series finds William attempting to rescue Ella.

As William the Last: Flight & Fight #1 begins, Magnus and Elias (his partner in crime) hide the armor belonging to the Hawk-Rider they... captured.  Magnus has a plan to use it to rescue his daughter, Ella, who has been captured and is imprisoned in the city.  However, young William decides that he should do the rescuing.  Meanwhile, imprisoned Ella shockingly discovers that she and the weird guy in the cell next to hers have a mutual acquaintance.

I thoroughly enjoyed William the Last #1, and I thought that it suggested that the series as a whole could be quite good.  It reminded me of the early issues of Bone, Mouse Guard, and Farlaine the Goblin, three independently published, fantasy comic book series that have the look and feel of classic children's fantasy fiction.  Of course, I was right.  The second, third, and fourth issues of William the Last were and are fantastic reads.

William the Last: Flight & Fight #1 seems to be too good to be true. There is not a wasted page, and every panel of this comic book makes you race to the next one, making you flip through the pages of this comic book like a desperate person.  I don't know why William the Last isn't a big freaking hit with more comic book readers.  It's not perfect, but it's perfect for most readers of comic books that make an attempt at epic fantasy.

Brian Shearer is a fantastic artist and colorist.  It is not so much that he is stylish (which he is); it is that his illustrations are evocative, and so, the emotions in his story come across strongly.  Mood and atmosphere are also evident; William the Last is dark and moody, but the sense of adventure is imbued in every panel.

William the Last feels like a timeless tale.  It could have fit on the shelves or in spinner racks right alongside American comic books of published in any of the last eight decades.  William the Last: Flight & Fight feels like it is ready to grapple with the big adventure and movements of epic fantasy; think The Lord of the Rings or works inspired by it.  The next time you go to the comic book shop, dear reader, say his name.  Shout out for William the Last.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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