Writer: Cullen Bunn
Illustrator: Leila Leiz
Publisher: Vault Comics
WHAT IS IT?
Civilization begins to collapse as a book prompts humanity toward inhumane violence in Vault Comics' newest supernatural horror story.
A novelist takes center stage in this comic mashup of In the Mouth of Madness and Misery.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
When the majority of people resist their carnal, primitive nature and build relationships on trust, civilizations function. But what if society broke down and gave into their self-quelled sadism? Olivia Kade, author of a treatise about the collapse of society, may have something to do with the sudden increase of gratuitous violence in The Last Book You'll Ever Read.
After the release of Olivia's controversial book, Satyr, readers start unleashing carnage upon one another. Satyr claims civilization is a lie. Thus, readers appear to take its musings about breaking down society through unrestrained primal violence literally. Stayr's readers start attacking Olivia herself. With an upcoming book tour on the horizon, Olivia realizes she requires a special kind of body guard to protect her from murderous fans during her travels.
Is anyone safe from Satyr's supernatural influence?
The Last Book You'll Ever Read #1 may be Cullen Bunn's best writing in a debut comic issue yet! The concept feels fresh, uniting familiar horror elements with a fascinating take on psychological and sociological concepts.
Leila Leiz's illustrations blend urban modernity with noir sensibilities.
Thick linework and congested scenes fill panels. Leiz captures an atmosphere of claustrophobia. A visually uncomfortable ambiance pervades the comic set in a burgeoning metropolis full of people turning toward savagery.
Rippling with a neo-noir color palette, colorist Giada Marchisio builds upon Leiz's artistic noir tone without shying away from rendering bloodshed in deep sanguine hues.
Jim Campbell tilts letters so they appear slightly askew. Campell's lettering alone generates a sense of unease.
Bunn's scripts are always elevated with the perfect art and lettering teams. Leiz and Marchisio amplify the depravity on the page, depicting throats getting torn out and bloodlust murders to make your gut churn.
Two radio talk show hosts discuss Olivia Kade's Satyr and the books' implications. The two-page conversation contributes necessary exposition, yet acts as a conduit to introduce healthy debate into whether Stayr is actually to blame for the worldwide uptick in aggressive violence.
The Last Book You'll Ever Read features stunning and insightful prose by Bunn. Is the comic affecting my own inhibitions since I actually feel a desire to read all of Satyr, based on the short "excerpts" we receive from Olivia's book reading?
Leiz draws main protagonist Olivia Kade with a retro fashion sense calling back to the late '50s or film noir styles. However, Olivia's pearls and bob haircut parallel the sensuality and carnal mystery of character Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby.
Campell's smaller leading size of font in speech bubbles buttresses the comics' theme of a civilization hesitant to admit how they are facing their own descent into violent barbarity.
The title of The Last Book You'll Ever Read will be synonymous with terror after reading. Monstrous images reflected in glass windows and suspense infecting the comic's narrative left nightmarish impressions in my head. Here, horror remains unchecked and unrestrained.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
Content Warning: Horror is on full display here. Be warned: This comic depicts and discusses extreme violence, graphic gore, and mature subject matter.
The last three pages are particularly gruesome and heartbreaking. Because it involves violence between a husband and wife, the scene may cause distress for certain readers.
Page 18 feels overcrowded with dialogue, but the dialogue itself resonates. This sole page specifically comes across as busy with text and imagery.
Inking in some densely packed scenes feels heavy, but Marchisio's coloring helps create balance.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If The Last Book You'll Ever Read #1 is your first comic book written by Cullen Bunn, this will not be the last book you'll ever read by him! Instead, you'll probably feel compelled to pick up more horror comic series penned by Bunn. This first issue has all the makings of a bestseller. Chiefly, the comic veers into philosophical territory, as the noir-inspired illustrations temper disturbing violence with a tone of elegance.
When a narrative in the horror genre proposes edifying concepts kindling thought while also putting forth thrilling terror, the story transforms into a transcendent piece of literature. The Last Book You'll Ever Read #1 becomes almost meta. When you think too hard about the fact that you're reading a (comic) book about a book creating chaos, your mind starts spinning with conjecture.
The Last Book You'll Ever Read #1 is an evocatively stirring debut spewing blood and postulations simultaneously. If the world was ending, you'd want to consider this comic as the last book you'd ever read.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Basilisk by Cullen Bunn & Jonas Scharf
Phantom On the Scan by Cullen Bunn & Mark Torres
I Walk With Monsters by Paul Cornell & Sally Cantirino
If you like the art:
Horde by Marguerite Bennett & Leila Leiz
M.O.M.: Mother of Madness by Marguerite Bennett, Emilia Clarke, Isobel Richardson & Leila Leiz
Resonant by David Andry & Skye Partridge
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Cullen Bunn – Writer (@cullenbunn)
Name Recognition: Cullen is a comics writer, screenwriter, novelist, and short story writer, well known for his work in the horror genre. He has written for major comic publications such as Marvel, DC, Dark Horse, Oni Press, and many more.
He is the NYT bestselling writer of Dark Ark, The 6th Gun, Harrow County, and Bone Parish.
Multitalented: Cullen has had many jobs including an Alien Autopsy Specialist, Rodeo Clown, Professional Wrestler Manager, Career Consultant, Product and Project Manager, and Director of Marketing. He was also once the world's youngest hypnotist.
Leila Leiz – Illustrator (@leilaleiz)
Leila is an artist and comic illustrator who has worked for Image, Vault, AfterShock, 451, Sergio Bonelli and Soleil.
She has illustrated titles like Alters, Horde, NVRLAND, and the new Image comic miniseries, M.O.M.: Mother of Madness.
Dream Team: She previously collaborated with Cullen Bunn, providing artistic contributions in The Cullen Bunn Library from AfterShock Comics.
Giada Marchisio – Colorist (LGiadaMarchisio)
Giada is a comic book illustrator and colorist
She has worked with Barabucha Animation Studio, and has colored comics from Image and Marvel.
Jim Campbell – Letterer (@CampbellLetters)
Prolific: Jim has done lettering for a large number of hit titles, including Barbaric from Vault Comics and Everfrost from Black Mask Comics.
Award Winner: He is a Ringo, Tripwire, and twice Eisner award-nominated comic letterer.
Outlander: Jim hails from the United Kingdom.
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