Publisher: Image Comics
Writer: Landry Q. Walker
Artwork: Justin Greenwood
Colours: Eric Jones
Letters: Patrick Brosseau
Release Date: 1st August 2018
When I first heard about The Last Siege I was a little intrigued, but honestly, the premise didn’t exactly reach out and grab me. Having been a big fan of fantasy and history for as long as I can remember being able to read, anything to do with knights and castles and all that malarkey would have been devoured. The increasing popularity of the genre in the last few years has brought with it a surge in related media, which, combined with ever diminishing free time as an adult means you need to get a little more picky about what you can afford to devote time to. Why am I saying this? Well, I just read the first three issues of this new Image Comics series and it’s safe to say I’m glad I did.
There’s the old discussion about how there are only so many stories in the world and, even if that’s true, the creative team here skilfully draw you in to this cold, wet castle to forget everything else for a while. So there’s a castle, a young Lady, a strange foreigner who’s more than a dab hand in a fight, politicking, scheming, and obvious baddies, but who cares if it’s all a bit familiar? This sounds like a dig at the story but it’s actually anything but. Walker takes all of these recognisable elements and tropes and creates a tale which keeps moving at pace, revealing layer after layer every single issue.
After the bang (pun intended) of the castle’s secrets in the last issue and the spectacle of Feist’s brutal escape, #3 opens with a conversation between the chancellor and bishop which provides an uneasy calm before yet another upcoming storm. As the chancellor retreats to the library and records in efforts to seek answers on the stranger’s heraldry, Feist and his villainous underlings make the most of the castle’s unprepared defences…
The Last Siege delivers exactly what you want in a low fantasy feudal series. Walker’s writing and Brosseau’s craft ensures that even when there’s heavy dialogue, it’s doesn’t feel like you’re hit by a wall of text. Greenwood and Jones together are fantastic, too. The fight panels, of which there have been many, capture so much energy and raw power that they alone are worth checking this series out for. The style, whilst clearly not hyper realistic, still manages to have the water run off the pages whenever it rains. Yeah sure, there’s a few things which irked a little but they’re more pet peeves and pedantry.
For someone who is normally calling out for more world building, I’m pleasantly surprised at how little this offers in that regard while still managing to remain so engaging and believable. To have a contained series so quickly and efficiently have you switch off from everything else and wander the grounds with these characters is marvellous. It’s fair to say this issue isn’t a great jumping on point, but it’s early enough to catch up and I recommend you do.
The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster