17th May2019

‘The Last Amazon’ Graphic Novel Review

by Chris Cummings

Created by Jamison Stone, David Granjo | Published by Apotheosis Studios

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The Last Amazon had a successful Kickstarter campaign in 2018. Produced by Apotheosis Studios and created by Jamison Stone and David Granjo, it aimed to tell a story in a fresh new way, taking unique turns in how it wanted to reveal its narrative. It was a very brave and interesting concept, and I got a chance to sit down and find out whether it was successful or not, at least in my personal opinion.

Immediately I understood just how different an experience this was going to be. I love graphic novels and comic books, and have a big fondness for both the classical and modern ways in which artists and writers choose to tell their stories. Just looking at the opening pages of The Last Amazon, I knew this was going to be a modern and far-from-usual book. A tale told with a variety of viewpoints, it takes the superhero genre and flips it on its head. It opens as it means to go on, it’s industrial and technological style immediately letting you know what you could be in for.

The story follows Danni Winters, a woman with curious abilities, in a world after the fall of man (or most of it) and we watch her journey and the journeys of others unfold through a variety of perspectives. It isn’t told with the usual panels of colour we’re used to, with speech bubbles in place, but instead uses news headline pages, chat logs, blog posts and striking first-person images. It is, at times, almost like a video game in the form of a book, a tech-action movie on a page.

Something I found to be incredibly unique and exciting about The Last Amazon, also, was that the creators cast real human beings for the main characters we find ourselves acquainted with. Casting Lauren Drain Kagan as Danni Winters, our main protagonist, is both radical and very cool to see. It makes the whole thing feel even fresher, even newer, like a new way of telling a story in graphic novel form has been unlocked. It is the first time I’ve encountered a book quite like this, and I’ve read a heck of a lot of graphic novels over the years. This is something entirely different. I’m always happy when I get to say that about something.

The writing here is great. It’s so deep, complex and well thought-out. It’s moving, at times, and descriptively beautiful at times too. The Last Amazon isn’t merely relying on its already striking visual style without giving us something to grasp onto story-wise. The background and building of the world and the characters inside of it is done with precision and a full knowledge of what The Last Amazon wants to be. I really did appreciate the details, the small things as well as the big things that help to create a world, and characters, to care about and lose yourself in. There are certainly strong messages linked to our real life too, elements of the political and economical landscape of today, and I found that definitely brought a darker realism to it all. The acknowledgement of actual history worked extremely well. The blog and social media posts are penned in a way that could almost feel real if the science-fiction elements weren’t so vibrant. It’s brilliantly done and within twenty-or-so pages I was hooked, my mouth on the bait set by the intriguing and distinctive new approach of The Last Amazon.

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The visual style, as I mentioned, is something very new, but that doesn’t do service to how nice it actually looks. The design of the characters is really cool, and the way we flick through pages of internet posts as well as action shots, is satisfying. I was excited to read and see everything unfold, with new questions being asked regularly, keeping things heated, a real strong curiosity always there. I didn’t lose interest at any point. Those who love the familiarity of traditional comic books (which I do, for sure) must walk in to this with a clear mindset. This isn’t like that. The writing is different, and at times it’s more like reading a science-fiction novel than it is a comic or graphic novel. I’m a sucker for robots and post-apocalyptic stories, and the fact that this chose a different route just made it all the more exhilarating.

If you’re after a graphic novel that is as thought-provoking as it is action-packed, as inspired and original as it is exciting, and as deep as it is creative, then look no further than The Last Amazon. I wasn’t sure what I was quite expecting when I opened this to read, but I wasn’t expecting this. An ultra-modern exemplum that pulls you in at page one and doesn’t let go until its finale, this is a thrilling journey that I highly recommend.

If I can sum it up in one word? “Woah”.

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