Best Shots Review: NO ONE LEFT TO FIGHT #1

No One Left to Fight #1
Credit: Fico Ossio/Taylor Esposito (Dark Horse Comics)
Credit: Fico Ossio/Taylor Esposito (Dark Horse Comics)

No One Left to Fight #1
Written by Aubrey Sitterson
Art by Fico Ossio
Lettering by Taylor Esposito
Published by Dark Horse Comics
'Rama Rating: 7 out of 10

Credit: Fico Ossio/Taylor Esposito (Dark Horse Comics)

Wearing its fighting game and anime influences proudly on its sleeve, No One Left to Fight #1 is a decent introduction into the world of lead character Vale that spends big on color and set-up, even if it doesn’t quite get across the emotional feels that it works toward.

Vale is on a pilgrimage back to the sight of his last great battle, where he saved the world from big bad Gor Despo. Joining him — and providing the hospitality — is Vale’s friend Krysta, as well as her curmudgeonly husband Timor. There is some warmth and heart in writer Aubrey Sitterson’s opening round, as we get introduced to the main cast, including affable ally Fargan and Krysta’s exuberant twins Tay and Tor, even as we get to explore the jealous grudge Timor holds against the legendary fighter Vale.

Credit: Fico Ossio/Taylor Esposito (Dark Horse Comics)

But it’s Fico Ossio that really scores the knockout for this series. Running rampant on art and colors, Osscio’s work is a bright, explosion of color around some well-designed characters. Spot the influences in the costume and make-up of the story’s world and you’ll see nods to Street Fighter, Dragon Ball Z, Darkstalkers, and Masters of the Universe, if not more. The bright colors really give the book its own visual identity straight off the bat. The whole book feels like the type of Capcom-driven excitement that would blare from screens and speakers at a popular arcade joint. Ossio also tells a great story through body language and facial expressions, such as Vale with his placid smile, the twins with their hyperactive and infectious excitement, and Timor with his Disney villain sneer and stiff upper lip retorts.

The family dynamic is given a lot of time, and Sitterson writes it with a tangible good nature. It’s important in placing Vale as someone who has friends but perhaps sacrificed the chance to have a family for himself in the name of duty. This is alluded to but there isn’t much depth told beyond that, and the story gives the impression that the blanks will be filled in as the journey progresses. In gaming terms, this plays like a fighting game on a not-too-difficult setting

Credit: Fico Ossio/Taylor Esposito (Dark Horse Comics)

That said, the characters aren’t written nearly as interestingly as they are rendered. Sitterson’s protagonist Vale in particular is a little underdeveloped. He is a lone wolf on a journey. He carries the solitude that comes with sacrifice. He feels the despair that comes with having nowhere to go when you’ve fulfilled your purpose. These are concepts that could have done with a bit more fleshing out in order to really hook the reader in on the premise and sold Vale to greater effect. Instead, the balance of the issue falls too much on the warmth of family and the set-up. Additionally, some readers might cry foul at the lack of action until the book’s conclusion — on the one hand, the title is literally No One Left to Fight, but it takes a little while for things to build up, making the final confrontation feel both explosive and a little abrupt.

A solid first issue that introduces the premise in basic fashion and has fun with its core cast. If you’re not overly in love with Dragon Ball Z, the quick and loose logic may be deter you (because like I said, Vale and Timor’s fight after dinner sure escalates quickly). That said, there’s enough visually to keep No One Left to Fight battling onward to a second issue, with a story that’s interesting, even if it isn’t that ground-breaking.

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