cover image The Last Musketeer

The Last Musketeer

Jason, . . Fantagraphics, $12.95 (48pp) ISBN 978-1-56097-889-3

Having already plundered Hitchcockian wrong-man scenarios (Why Are You Doing This? ), zombie flicks (The Living and the Dead ) and alternate history paradoxes (I Killed Adolf Hitler ) for his own sardonic purposes, Jason goes this time for a multigenre mash-up that proves to be one of his most enjoyable books yet. In The Last Musketeer , Athos is still alive in modern-day Paris, a drunken has-been unable to let go of past glories. He proves surprisingly handy, though, at defending Earth after overpowering a couple of invading Martians, hitching a ride back to their planet and taking on the alien army singlehandedly. Swordplay, dungeons, a princess, ray guns and daring escapes follow, all drawn with Jason's usual sharp and colorful vibrancy. In the hands of most other comic artists, mixing up this goofy Dumas riff with Edgar Rice Burroughs–style pulp (and caped costumes right out of Flash Gordon ) would have seemed like desperation, overreaching or mockery. But as done by the supremely confident Jason—who has always paired a cool abstraction with a sharp comic streak—it comes off as a genuinely appreciative lark, albeit one veined with a rare sense of mortality. (Jan.)