Staff member
A mysterious stranger, a tiny castle town, and an endless war forms the basic elements of Image Comics’ new series, “The Last Siege.” Written by Landry Q. Walker with artwork by Justin Greenwood and Eric Jones, “The Last Siege” is off to a solid start. There is only so much a creative team can accomplish at the outset of a series and Walker and company prove worthy of the challenge. It’s a compelling first issue even though some of the tropes seem to be fairly familiar.

The war is coming to an end of sorts – a brutal ruler from “across the sea” has assumed power and is in the process of stamping out all remaining vestiges of resistance. “The Last Siege” is the site of one of these remaining regions and the new king has sent a brutal henchman, Feist to claim it. So far there is not much of a siege at all. The advisors of this last house decide to marry the thirteen-year old heir to Feist in order to secure peace and their own futures.

This is where the mysterious stranger enters the story. “The Last Siege” is a world where fealty, royalty, and hegemony seem to be inextricably linked. Royal rulers rule through violent dominance and fealty is required for survival. The conflict is organized along east-west coordinates. The West has fallen, the new ruler is from across the sea, and the stranger who arrives at the small town in the opening pages of issue #1 is identified as an easterner.

Readers won’t learn too much about the enigmatic protagonist of the series in its first issue and that’s ok. He does just enough to entice readers into wanting to see what will come next. The same might be said for the entire world of “The Last Siege.” Walker and Greenwood have built something that is both dark and timeless. “The Last Seige” could be pre-history or post-apocalyptic, medieval or modern fantasy.

In the darker corners of this world a bar fight can have unforeseen consequences; or a young girl has to consider marrying a stranger when she should be grieving for the loss of her parents. One of the great tricks of good writing is when the setting and circumstances feel familiar to readers but ultimately the story unfolds in ways that are wholly original. “The Last Siege” seems to be right on the verge of this kind of unfolding – the kind of story that transforms the overused slate of past stories into a cool new thing. 3.5/5.