The Last of the Greats

Joshua Hale Fialkov, Author, Brent Peeples, Illustrator
Joshua Hale Fialkov and Brent Peeples. Image (Diamond, Dist.), $12.99 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-60706-518-0
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Depicting superheroes as gods on Earth isn’t anything fresh, but this recent take offers some graphic ferocity. Pulling from the “absolute power corrupts absolutely” playbook, godlike superbeings the Greats visit the Earth to forge a paradise, but their deaths cause the overdependent Earthlings to beg for protection from the last remaining Great—called the Last—who escaped demise through a hermitic lifestyle brought on by disgust of humans. The plot never meanders off into too much exposition unless it’s about the more harrowing tale of the Greats’ effect on the human condition, as seen through the eyes of Charles Beaumont, official human emissary of the Last. Humankind’s request is a double-edged sword, and the price of protection is subjugation, leading to a brutal fable about people willingly submitting themselves as disposable property out of fear. With the Last’s in a direct line with the fiery god of the Old Testament, the rape of human dignity goes from spiritual to literal, as the carnage and humiliation build up in service to a divine plan. It’s not always the most pleasant story, but it is a very human one, and Fialkov inserts complex meditations on cosmic humiliation into a satisfying and accessible book. (Apr.)
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