Games like Street Fighter and Mortal Kombat focus on a finite amount of time in the lives of warriors. They’re fighting to save the world. What happens when the battle is over? How do you just go on with a normal life after being through something as harrowing as a fight with the fate of all of humanity hanging in the balance. Vale is still figuring that out, grappling with horrifying visions of his past encounters despite being lauded as a hero.
I absolutely love the premise of No One Left to Fight. It speaks to my inner child as I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z and often wondered what these characters did after the seemingly endless battles ended. In Vale’s case, he’s doing alright, but his life seems to be missing something. This really stands out when he visits his old friend Krysta and sees the loving family she’s made.
Vale is tortured by traumatic visions from the past, often blurring the lines between fantasy and reality. That’s how much this fight to save the world has affected him. Sure, everyone loves him as he stopped a major threat, but that came at a cost to his psyche.
These visions pop up in an alarming fashion. Artist Fico Ossio makes them stand out when compared to the standard panels. Their borders are not as defined as the others, as if they were shoved violently into the comic. They also appear in a different color scheme.
Speaking of colors, this book has a gorgeous palette. It’s lush with color and energy, giving you a sense of this world and all the lively characters that fill it. This is definitely not Earth in the way we know it. These are the fighters you’ve seen in games for generations living their normal day-to-day lives. If they were transported to our world, they would stick out like sore thumbs, but they are in their element.
This is also true when attacks are made. Energy crackles across the page in bright pinks and reds as they power up. Ossio instantly transported me back to my childhood with these images, sitting in front of the TV early on Sunday morning to catch Dragon Ball Z on WPIX 11. Letterer Taylor Esposito adds to this intensity with big, bold dialogue that can’t be contained in traditional word balloons. It’s just as energetic as the attacks.
Writer Aubrey Sitterson wastes no time introducing us to the characters and this world. Within a few pages you have a good idea as to their personalities and back story. Much is implied with a few quick words of dialogue or a passing glance. Krysta’s husband, Timor clearly has an axe to grind with Vale as his speech is dripping with passive aggressive tones.
What really stands out is how empty and alone Vale feels, especially in comparison to Krysta’s life. She’s surrounded by love and warmth. Vale is certainly loved too, but it’s more superficial, like how you love a favorite baseball player or actor.
No One Left to Fight hooked me with a great premise. What happens to the great fighters after the final battle ends? It quickly moved past that to deliver so much more. This book is full of heart, drama, and compelling, multi-layered characters. It’s top notch storytelling with some incredible artwork. Do not miss this book.