Due to an unknown catalyst, the world has grown cold and the sun blotted out. Now, years later, vampires openly roam the darkened world while the last remaining humans are forced to scavenge to survive. Humanoid presents the hardcover of this 28 Days-esque novel: The Last Ones. Is it good?
The Last Ones HC (Humanoids Inc.)
The story focuses on one pack of human survivors that mostly consists of children and is led by a woman named Elena. After several years of living in a post-apocalyptic environment and within the ruins of city-scapes, the team decides to risk relocation in search of a rumored last encampment for humans. It’s once the group is out on the frontier and most vulnerable that they meet Nile who not only holds the key to their survival, but possibly the last hope of human race.
This novel is going to interest any vampire aficionados, but if you don’t consider yourself to be one, it’s just going to be one of those guilty pleasures. You essentially know what you’re getting yourself into from the start and The Last Ones is a vampire story quite similar to those we’ve seen before. Complete with a secret league of vampires, bloody fight scenes, weak humans who pledge vampire servitude, and one sole good vampire, this novel shares a lot of repeated story qualities without contributing a lot of unique ones. Granted, if you’re into this genre of book you’re going to enjoy it, but if you aren’t and you’re simply looking for something new, this may not be the right one.
The art is especially good, the illustration contributed by Manuel Garcia (Mystique, Bloodshot). Garcia is noticeably strong in representing the character’s emotions and the details in the fight sequences are spot on. There’s a panel relatively early on that features a spear being driven up at an angle through a vampire’s head and you can see the impression of the staff just below the flesh of the face. If you take the time to really study panels like that you start to appreciate the quality job Garcia did within this novel.
Unfortunately, writer David Munoz fails to really shine with uninspiring, mediocre storyline and plot development. In addition to the present day storyline, the novel’s development runs parallel to memories of Nile with distinctive memories chronologically placed throughout the story. Unfortunately, the memories provide such blatant foreshadowing that the present storyline becomes too predictable at times. The transitions are also very weak and sometimes too quick and awkward. For example, a soldier abandons a group, has a change of heart, and is back leading the team all within a single page. Or a woman getting the news that one of the children in her care is dying and her response is simply “My poor so-and-so” before she moves on to a new topic.
The characters struggle to be entirely likeable which makes it difficult to become emotionally invested in what happens to them as they have a number of unnaturally rash actions by several characters. The main characters the story focuses on creating these strong, emotional relationships in such a short amount of time that it comes off as unrealistic. It’s really the portrayal of realistic human interaction and reaction that is lost to the audience and without that baseline concept, we cannot accurately appreciate the creation of the supernatural beings such as vampires.
Is It Good?
The novel isn’t going to change the way we view the fantasy, sci-fi genre or stand out amongst the rest of the countless vampire stories, but it’s still a solid book overall. Despite the bland character issues, the art is a big redeeming quality and any fan of vampires should enjoy the novel. However, this is a novel we’ve seen before so anyone not already in love in the genre shouldn’t expect anything earth shattering.
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