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CR Review: The Last Winter
posted April 9, 2008


Creators: Larry Fessenden, Robert Leaver, Brahm Revel, James Felix McKenney
Publishing Information: Image Comics, softcover, March 2008, $12.99
Ordering Numbers: 1582409366 (ISBN10), 9781582409368 (ISBN13)

imageThe new Image graphic novel The Last Winter ends up being kind of a tough slog as a comic book. It's wordy yet inexpressive, crowded with characters yet curiously devoid of life, touches on issues without engaging them. It does, however, work terrifically well as a cautionary tale about bringing a movie script into comics form. Original movie storyboard artist Brahm Revel is unable to bring to his figures what a talented ensemble of actors can, and fails to invest their surrounding reality with the kind of verisimilitude that makes the eerie goings on at the heart of the film version. A few more fantastic elements in the book that aren't as apparent in the movie serve to take the reader further away from the small-p political argument at the movie's heart -- an exploration of world-views and personal responsibility -- by making real certain ambiguous realties that threw focus on the way each character processed the unknowable. Devoid of those characteristics, and possessed of a completely different, I'd say inferior visual rhythm than the version that made its way to screen, and you end up with a more lifeless iteration of the a story that was just a bit more obtuse than effective, or good, in its intended medium. I'm not only confused by a comic book that comes out two years after an obscure film version is made, I'm left wondering how Image can process so many original graphic novels that no one seems likely to read.