Vale saved the world, becoming an icon, a hero, and a legend to countless people. Now, on the anniversary of his great victory, he’s trekking back to where it all happened. He’s already come to blows with two of his closest friends during this journey so what happens when a real villain comes in?
It’s saying something that the only fights we’ve seen Vale in up until this point have been with friends. He can’t possibly live up to the images everyone has of him in their heads. That’s an insurmountable amount of pressure and it’s clearly weighing him down. Additionally, everyone thinks they know him, but few actually do. It’s not unlike a celebrity status. Sure, you might have an idea of an actor’s personality from their Instagram profile or the movies they’re in, but you don’t really know them or what they’re going through.
This comes to a head early on in No One Left to Fight #3 where Winda practically throws herself at Vale. She’s loved him for as long as she can remember and she wants nothing more than to be with him, but he can’t do that for multiple reasons. He saw her grow up and sees her as a sister, plus his heart belongs to someone else. Imagine confessing your true, undying love to someone you’ve admired for your whole life only to be rebuffed. Not a great feeling, right? Now imagine you can generate powerful energy blasts at will. How do you think that might go?
Artist Fico Ossio has a real talent for conveying emotion. Winda goes from a warm, loving look to one of pure rage. The former has a softer quality, like the images have been airbrushed while the latter is full of harsh lines and anger. There’s a literal explosion which darts across the page in a fiery red and orange glow, disrupting the cool blues and purples of the night.
This emotion is amplified by letterer Taylor Esposito, particularly the fight with Winda. When she powers up her big attack, I had flashbacks to the first time I saw Goku deliver a Kamehameha blast in Dragon Ball Z. The words pop on the page, coinciding with the massive build of energy.
The sad thing about this encounter is that Vale could really be happy with Winda. He imagines a life with her at one point and it’s beautiful. He can’t bring himself to go down that road for reasons we don’t entirely understand yet. Winda delivers some powerful words to him, pointing out that people don’t just end up alone. They choose to be that way. This sheds some light on what Vale has been up to during his time as a hero.
The arrival of the Hierophant could not come at a worse time. While most of No One Left to Fight has shown Vale in a vulnerable or tortured state, his confrontation with this villain shows how he’s every bit the confident and capable warrior. Like the Devil himself, the Hierophant twists words and offers Vale a deal that’s too good to refuse. What if he could take all of the hero’s pain away? That’s a pretty tempting offer.
Ossio’s design for the Hierophant is as terrifying as it is awesome. He appears on this floating jet ski kind of vessel that’s all sorts of cool. His jaw is two different colors, making it look like the lower half is torn off, adding to his sickly and unsettling image. The Hierophant looks slick to the touch, like a snake, so you immediately understand that he’s not to be trusted.
Every issue of No One Left to Fight adds more to the vast mythos. There’s a huge world of lore, myth, and tradition at play here and writer Aubrey Sitterson is only scratching the surface. This is represented in little things, like the salute Winda gives to Vale at the end of this chapter or the references Vale makes to the Hierophant’s transformations. While I’m left with some questions, it only adds to the reading experience. I’m intrigued and would love to see this universe explored forever.
It’s hard to believe that we’ve only been with these characters for three issues. It feels like we’ve been following their adventures for a lifetime. I am so plugged into this book and fully invested with Vale, Winda, and all the rest. It may have caught my eye based on the ties to road trip movies and awesome fighting shows, but it has definitely risen above that to create something truly special.