Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Last of Us: American Dreams #1: Review (Comic)

For those who just can't wait for the upcoming Playstation title by Naughty Dogs Games - The Last of Us - the little bit of information from gameplay trailers has done little to feed an insatiable hunger for more. More of the great graphics, action adventure and story. On the contrary  the more they show the more questions arise and the more June 14th can't get here soon enough. To help quell some of this hunger Naughty Dog has teamed up with Dark Horse Comics to brings us a tantalizing glimpse into this postapocalyptic world . In The Last of Us: An American Dream #1 we are treated to the official comics-exclusive prequel to one of the most anticipated games of the year.

Set nineteen years after the fungal parasite outbreak infected the majority of the world population, resulting in humanity fighting for it's survival in camps. Ellie was born into one of these camps, located in Boston, where she's known nothing but the devastated world she was raised in. As could be expected, having been taken to the brink of extinction, the walled off city has taken to a more militaristic  society where orphans are sent to military prep school upon their thirteenth birthday. The Last of Us: American Dreams opens on the day Ellie is taken to this prep school.

The Last of Us Comic Image1
Not exactly a friendly place, but pay attention to small details.
On her way to her new school we get the first glimpse into the walled city that Ellie calls home. It's not a bright or friendly place. Without even saying as word Faith Erin Hicks, the artist, conveys a myriad of emotions and reactions by Ellie that also offer us our first look into the kind of person Ellie is. There are obvious overtures as well as subtle clues at things to come that add depth to the comic as well as hint at elements to come when The Last of Us game comes out. While they hint, they don't spoil anything yet remain tantalizing.
The artwork is not a style that I typically favor, but Hicks's use of the colors and emotional conveyance elevates the style to my admiration. It might also be fitting as trying to copy the graphics of the games could be disheartening. Such a divergent art choice from the game makes sense.
Throughout The Last of Us: American Dreams the story focuses on Ellie, not just thematically, but emotionally and truly insightful. Faith Erin Hicks pulls double duty, working with Neil Druckman as co-authors of this book. There's hardly a wasted page or even scene for that matter that doesn't show Ellie, the world she lives in and how she reacts to it.

See the full Review and Score: