Back in the summer of 2019, DC Comics released their first publication under the Black Label banner – a imprint designed to showcase the company’s comic book characters in a darker light for a more mature audience.
With stories written and illustrated by a host of the industry’s top talents that included Brian Azzarello, Lee Bermejo, Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Frank Miller, John Romita Jr., Jeff Lemire, David Mack and many others, Black Label generally produced mini-series, one-shots, or compilation reprints of select titles.
Most titles were, and remain, Batman-centric, but there has also been a small offering of creator-owned stories.
Deviating from the Black Label norm in late 2019 was the 12-issue high fantasy monthly series, The Last God.
Conceived by writer Phillip Kennedy Johnson (Action Comics, Superman, Alien) and illustrator Ricardo Federici (Aquaman, various painted covers and concepts), The Last God hardcover compilation, subtitled Book 1 of the Fellspyre Chronicles is unlike anything DC Black Label or DC Comics proper has published in recent memory. It’s a world-building, high concept sword and sorcery fantasy series, inspired by both J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and Robert E. Howard’s Conan. There’s also an overt Lovecraftian horror element mixed in for good measure.
And, you know, Dungeon’s and Dragons.
You can role-play The Last God! How’s that for interactive comic book fiction?
The Last God asks the important question: what happens if the Fellowship of heroes fails?
The story begins with the telling that thirty years previous, a band of worthy heroes defied all and destroyed the last living God, a demonic entity bent on destroying the realm of Cain Anuun.
Now, after decades of peace, the foul stench of The Last God has returned and time-honoured truths are broken as a new group of champions must, finally, defeat their supernatural antagonist.
The story is familiar, of course, but it’s also compelling and, with the added horror element, fresh. The artwork by the accomplished Federici is absolutely wonderful. It’s grand in scope, and terrifying when it needs to be, reminiscing the best works of fantasy artists such Boris Vellejo, Frank Frazetta and Neal Adams.
In its beautiful and captivating 448 pages, The Last God hardcover compilation collects the original 12-issue series as well as the one-shot The Last God: Songs of Lost Children. Fascinatingly, for those role-play gamers, it also includes The Last God: Tales From the Book of Ages sourcebook. Dungeons and Dragons, you see, has an open-source resource for creators who want to tie their material into the famous role-playing system, and it marks a wholly original creative outlet for a comic book series.
So, while we wait for a hoped-for second volume in The Last God series of comics, go ahead and role a critical hit on your personal d20. Head over to your local comic book shop today and pick up The Last God: Book 1 of the Fellspyre Chronicles hardcover compilation!