Last Flight Out was announced back in June as a four-part story about a father trying to find his daughter. Out this week, it’s a reminder our society always seems to have the threat of doomsday on the tip of our tongues, be it in stories told or on the nightly news. Writer Marc Guggenheim and artist Eduardo Ferigato tell a story about a father who will throw away everything he worked for to save humanity and himself for his little girl.
If you’re up for a story that feels incredibly real centered on the evacuation of Earth in its final years you have come to the right place. The issue opens on October 16, 2031, where Ben is called by his wife to attend the birth of their child. He’s busy with something and never makes it in time. Cut to 2033 and a horrible car accident occurs. Once again, Ben can’t be bothered as he works on something in his shop. His wife has died, but his daughter is still alive. Over the course of a page, we see him unfeeling and unmoving in different locations which visibly shows Ben may not recover from this loss.
Cut again to 2035 in a moment with his daughter and later on in 2055 with 24 hours left before the third ark departs from Earth. The planet appears to be inhabitable, or soon will be, and chaos has reigned across the globe. Like a great disaster movie, Guggenheim sprinkles details about how people are reacting to the end of the world, how these arcs were made, and it’s all cast in a kind of doubt as it’s unclear exactly what is going on. Simply put, Guggenheim puts you in the shoes of a person trying to take all this info in and being incredibly overwhelmed.
This sets up the entirely believable and scary end times concept that is layered on top of Ben realizing he needs to go to Chicago and get his daughter. This all within 24 hours before something — we don’t know what — happens to make Earth a dangerous place to live. Or so we think. It’s a concept that is laid out very well in this issue and makes for a high-anxiety and tense read. All that tension is layered on and that doesn’t even account for the very scary final scene that sets in motion a different kind of trek for Ben as he tries to save the last thing left of his family.
This issue also has two data pages that do a lot to help make this world believable and relatable. One features a Twitter stream of comments as well as trending topics that depict people who think the world ending is a conspiracy, others who know it’s true, and official accounts sharing information. It’s hauntingly believable. In another, a memo reveals the horrible things countries did to ensure resources were procured to create the arcs Ben helped design and build. Once again, a believable turn if the end of the world was in sight.
Possibly the only negative in the narrative so far is not knowing how or why the world is ending. It creates a mystery that makes you question if it’s even real — much like the deniers — and thus makes it difficult to know how bad it might get and the risk Ben is taking and the stakes in play. That said, not knowing also creates a scarier situation.
Ferigato’s art is highly detailed, especially with structures and vehicles that give the book a realistic feel but also a technological one. This is the future, after all, and the sci-fi futuristic look is subtle enough to look like a believable future in just 30 years from now. The characters aren’t quite as detailed and realistic as their surroundings, but their facial expressions are relatable and easy to read. In the chaotic action sequence at the end of the book turn panels a little off-kilter to help convey what the characters are feeling.
Ferigato’s art is joined by color artist Marcelo Costa and letterer Diego Sanches. Letters are clean and word balloons connect well between conversations. You’ll see two or even three-word balloons connected and dancing amongst retorts in another character’s balloons that play off each other nicely. Colors are strong, with a keen sense of realism in the sky or environments. In the chaotic ending, there are a lot of harsh reds used that seem to increase the tension at the moment.
If you like disaster movies, you’ll love Last Flight Out. This comic hits very close to home from the notion of folks denying what is going on, to how genius minds might have solutions, but intelligence will still force them to do the crazy thing to put their lives at risk for a loved one. Last Flight Out sustains tension while supplying ample intimacy with its characters, making for a high-anxiety disaster story.
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