Sir Jon Reviews – Last Song #1
In the inaugural issue of LAST SONG, creator and writer of the title, Holly Interlandi explains in her afterward that she thinks “rock and roll is enough” when telling a tale about rock music stars in comic book form. She says that most people wait “for the punchline” of what else might be part of the story, such as rock stars in space, or other such fantastic plot devices. She doesn’t think she needs such a device to further her take on the lives of the characters in LAST SONG, and she’s right.
For all intents and purposes, LAST SONG is the retrospective and history of two friends, Nicky Marshall and Drey Shannon, who build a band together, and though it’s only hinted at in this first chapter, eventually become rock stars. It’s a laudable accounting, with likeable, faceted personalities that entice page turning, granting access into the progressive adventure of the cast. Spaceships aren’t missed. Rockets fired from guitar necks aren’t missed. Time travel isn’t missed, although portions are set in defined, previous years, which might give the impression of time travel. It’s allowable.
Nicky is a bit of a tragic soul, not all of his choice. Drey is the stoic one, wise beyond himself. They aren’t the most unique of creations, but that won’t factor when all told. Just a few pages in will have readers catching the characters excitement, their passion and the depth of their friendship. The chapter titles mentioned in the afterward foreshadow eventual circumstances of failure, though that won’t deter from a want to read them; it will incur a want to read them now.
The book is all done in atmospheric black and white by Sally Cantirino. The work is scratchy, cartoony, moody and fun, and it suits LAST SONG well. Characters are easy to recognize. Panels are easy to follow. Art and story flow together in an exceptionally nice way, making it very easy to overlook the layout of each page, crafted with finesse and precision. The throwback grayscale shading adds to the tone of the time period and emotional level, allowing for a good, dramatic work.
On the outset, LAST SONG is a strange publication for Black Mask. A good portion of their titles align themselves with degrees of the fantastic or the overtly extra-normal. Here, it’s almost slice-of-life, with only the fantastic elements that could happen, to someone, somewhere. The first issue, an oversized sixty pages of comic book heaven, is an anomaly in publishing circles. It’s on an admitted quarterly schedule, nearly twice the size of standard comics in length, black and white, and with two relative newcomers to comic books. Aware comic fans should support the book solely for Black Mask to take such a multi-tiered risk, much less that the book is actually worthy of their money. Don’t applaud them. Don’t hail them as great publishers. Show them by purchasing LAST SONG.
LAST SONG, written by Holly Interlandi, drawn by Sally Cantirino, and published by Black Mask Studios, is available now for $4.99 at better comic stores everywhere.