THE LAST SESSION, ISSUE #1

Writer: Jasmine Wells

Artist: Dozerdraws

Publisher: Mad Cave Studios

The Last Session #1, Cover by Dozerdraws, Mad Cave Studios

WHAT IS IT?

A nostalgic story about reconnecting with one’s youth through tabletop role-playing games.


Think the film Tag but with Dungeons & Dragons.


WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

(Minor spoilers)


After an underwhelming first Gay Sexual Alliance meeting, five high schoolers, Jay, Lana, Drew, Shen, and Walter, begin playing the tabletop RPG, Dice & Deathtraps. They become fast friends as the GSA meetings morph into weekly D&D sessions.


Four years later, the friends are getting ready to move on in their careers and education when Jay plans a game night to finish their high school campaign as a last hoorah. However, Jay’s partner Cassandra joins the group, completely changing the dynamic. Will the game go as planned?


WHAT WORKS

  • Jasmine’s story is fun and very relatable. Each character feels personable because they have relevant struggles such as a finding a job or affording higher education and the reader can quickly feel everyone’s fond nostalgia for this game.

  • The story wouldn’t have been as fun without Dozerdraws's rounded, curvy linework. In particular, his facial expressions have that over-the-top feel of a quality cartoon.

  • Likewise, Dozer’s colors make each character pop. His choices for the D&D characters perfectly emulated what a real player would have chosen to make their hero/heroine stick out.

  • With two stories occurring in this book, Micah Myers ensured the reader was never confused on who was speaking. His use of color and small portraits to designate narration during the campaign was clever and helpful.

  • Familiarity with Dungeons & Dragons is immediately established with terms like “perception check” and “touch spell” mixed smoothly into the narrative.

  • The story contains a classic cliffhanger which will make readers excited for the next issue.

  • The campaign has a great diverse cast, both writing and art, and is very inclusive. Each character is introduced with pronouns which readers will appreciate.


WHAT DOESN’T WORK

  • A possible conflict between the players is hinted at in the dialogue, but not reinforced enough to make a reader certain of their importance. A bit more would have established what could be a problem in the real world part of the story.

  • Most of the pages are 5-6 panels and use similar shapes and layouts. A bit more variety in both of these areas would have made the issue feel less repetitive, and could have livened-up action scenes.


WHY SHOULD I READ IT?

The Last Session #1, Page 12, Interior Art by Dozerdraws, Mad Cave Studios

This comic is wholesome and does an incredible job showing the fondness the cast has for this game and each other. It taps into the positives of nostalgia and how it can bring together old friends, even after many years of separation. Many Dungeons & Dragons-inspired works similarly focus on how stories emerge in a typical campaign with all of the wackiness and human error, but many focus more or entirely on the fantasy narrative. The Last Session allows the players of the game to shine as much as their D&D characters, giving a unique take on this type of comic.


Being easy on the eyes is a large part of why the art meshes so well with the story. The linework matches the mood by harkening back to the smooth, less-defined style of young adult/children’s media making a perfect marriage with the writing. So much emotion is conveyed through the character’s facial expressions and little touches like stars surrounding their faces or thin explosions around their bodies to convey excitement. Simply put, the art is extremely fun. Fans of Dungeons & Dragons will certainly enjoy this, but truly anyone who enjoys a heartfelt story featuring a diverse ensemble will find something to like as well. Millennials in particular could find some relatable beats in these characters that will tug on their emotions.


WHAT DO I READ NEXT?

If you like the writing:

  • Seen: Edmonia Lewis by Jasmine Walls & Bex Glendining

  • Joanna Henry (published in The Sun and Wayward Wind anthology) by Jasmine Walls

  • Stranger Things and Dungeons & Dragons by Jody Houser, Jim Zub & Diego Galindo


If you like the art:

  • Lumberjanes #56 by Kat Leyh, Shannon Watters, & Dozerdraws

  • WWE #22 by Dennis Hopeless, Julian May, Serg Acuna, & Dozerdraws

  • Lore Olympus by Rachel Smythe


ABOUT THE CREATORS

Jasmine Walls (@mythjaecomics) - Writer

  • A relative newcomer to comics, Jasmine has also written Seen: Edmonia Lewis for Boom! Studios, Draw Out The Vote: South Carolina for Oni Press, and is published in multiple anthologies.

  • She is also an illustrator and has drawn many of her own stories.

  • Jasmine is writing the upcoming graphic novel Brooms with artist Teo DuVall which will be released in 2023.


Dozerdraws (@littledozerbaby) - Artist

  • A rising talent, Dozer has done work for Boom! Studios and Mad Cave Studios as well as their own independent works.

  • They also design fan merch on Red Bubble and have also done promotional art for the miniseries Im Knast.

  • Dozer hails from Germany.


Micah Myers (@micahmyers) - Letterer

  • Having an established career, Micah has lettered for nearly every major comics publisher and was nominated for a Ringo Award in 2021.

  • He started a three volume pro wrestling anthology titled Kayfabe in 2016.

  • Micah is also penning The Disasters.


HOW DO I BUY IT?


The image(s) used in this article are from a comic strip, webcomic or the cover or interior of a comic book. The copyright for this image(s) is likely owned by either the publisher of the comic, the writer(s) and/or artist(s) who produced the comic. It is believed that the use of this image(s) qualifies as fair use under the United States copyright law. The image is used in a limited fashion in an educational manner in order to illustrate the points of the author and not for the purpose of entertainment or substituting the original work. It is believed the use of this image has had no impact on the market value of the original work.


All The Last Session characters and the distinctive likeness(es) thereof are trademarks of and copyright Mad Cave Studios or their respective owners. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.



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