cover image The Last Session: Vol. 1, Roll for Initiative

The Last Session: Vol. 1, Roll for Initiative

Jasmine Walls and Dozerdraws. Mad Cave, $17.99 trade paper (132p) ISBN 978-1-952303-19-7

Change can be an uncomfortable thing in Walls and Dozerdraws’s debut, a genial ode to tabletop RPGs and the friendships that form over gaming sessions. After meeting at their high school’s Gender Sexuality Alliance club, Lana, Drew, Shen, Walter, and Jay become buds through the role-playing game Dice & Deathtraps. Four years later, they’re all preparing to move to different states for school and work. Before they say goodbye, Jay gathers the gang to finish their first campaign. Joining them is Jay’s partner, Cassandra, a newbie to D&D and the friend group. Unfortunately, Cassandra’s enthusiastic playing puts her at odds with the party’s dynamic. In scenes both in the game world and IRL, Walls nails the feeling of a new player coming into an established clique, and all the shifts, good and bad, that can arise from that social catalyst. Along the way, the lasting positives of forming friendships over the roll of a die get ample play. For example, Lana’s self-esteem is boosted by recognizing herself in her half-elf character’s plus-size representation. Dozerdraws’s first-rate character designs and fun, bright colors help distinguish the ensemble members, whether teens or fantastical versions. Fans of the Adventure Zone series will be eager to venture in, and even if readers are not gamers themselves, there’s plenty worth following in the trials and tribulations of this group of friends. (June)