The Last American

“I pledged allegiance to the flag of the United Sates of America, and to the republic for which it stood, look where it got me.”

Over twenty years have passed since a global war plunged the world into nuclear armageddon. Placed in suspended animation by his superiors, U.S. Army Captain, Ulysses Pilgrim, is woken by three military robot aides. Now Pilgrim has one last mission: wade through a post-holocaust U.S.A. and search for survivors.

Written by John Wagner and Alan Grant and featuring the unique art of Mick McMahon, The Last American is a brilliant, yet terrifying look at the reality and futility of nuclear war.

Judging by the cover, The Last American looks like a goofy Rambo parody. In reality it’s an excellently-written, strikingly illustrated work of post-nuclear war fiction.

The art is original, with qualities both familiar and unique: the linework is blocky and square, while the colors are flat and overbled, like magic markers. I loved the design of the three robots. The human characters emote through their body language, more than their dumbstruck faces; the protagonist rocks back on his heels, neck held stiffly, as if physically buffeted by the overwhelming destruction of everything he’s known.

The writing, of course, is where this comic really shines. It has a deadpan Britishness, an aloof and very black humor, which only serves to reinforce the titanic silence evident in each panel. I loved the macabre musical number during the second chapter – shades of Thomas Pynchon, except more apropos and sinister. On the whole it was interesting to see a very “American” (i.e., apocalyptic) story told through a British lens, and what you end up with is a very meditative, quiet, and somehow more awful story than the purple prose the genre tends to attract.

A fine bit of storytelling, and very timely. I think I know how it’s going to end, but I still want to read more.

Final Verdict: 4 out of 5.

The Last American can be found at 2000AD

Geek-o-Rama received a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. All thoughts, comments and opinions are those of the individual reviewer.

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