Neil Druckmann & Faith Erin Hicks’ “The Last of Us: American Dreams” serves as the prequel to one of the most anticipated video games of 2013. While the comic doesn’t hold the same weight as the source material it’s based on, it serves as an okay introduction into the world. This prequel is enticing in places which is enough to warrant its existence.
WRITTEN BY: Neil Druckmann & Faith Erin Hicks
ART BY: Faith Erin Hicks
PUBLISHER: Dark Horse
RELEASE: May 29th, 2013
For those of you living under a rock, The Last of Us is Naughty Dog’s newest videogame. The makers of Uncharted have spent years developing a new game in a post apocalyptic wasteland that is overrun by fungal outbreak. American Dreams picks up with one of the protagonists: Ellie, before the events of the game.
Ellie finds herself in a mandatory boarding school. She is immediately branded as an outsider and finds her confined life to be rather boring. After a tumultuous introduction to a fellow student, Riley, Ellie finds herself out in the city.
Riley and Ellie’s adventure through issue two is interesting and fun to read. There are brief moments of characterization peppered throughout the intense backdrop of the destroyed and abandoned city. The mysterious group known as “The Fireflies” is alluded to again, and Riley laments her future. Both characters seem to be a physical match for one another as they traipse through the city.
Some time is spent in an abandoned mall. However, the real meat of the issue comes from the introduction of Riley’s friend. Riley has befriended an old man living in the mall, that she calls Winston. Winston is kind, and looks to be a grizzled warrior. He ends up taking Ellie for a brief horseback ride, only to be called off into adventure.
The plot kicks into high gear on the final pages and sets up the remainder of the arc. I’m interested to see how Ellie will eventually part ways with Riley. Since I know Riley is nowhere to be found in the game. Things are only going to get worse before they get better, which is always good from a story standpoint.
Hicks’ art is quite simplistic, but very clean. Often times it reminded me of a colorful Scott Pilgrim esque world. At first I wasn’t sure if the art suited the story. That said, her art allows the story to achieve a very brisk pace, and when she uses gore, it works to great effect beside her clean presentable characters and coloring choices.
Overall “The Last of Us: American Dreams” is gearing up to be a worthy prequel. The first two issues do nothing but develop characters. Which is good, but even a flimsy plot would be nice. As it stands the story develops quite predictably, and doesn’t do a whole lot to tell its own story in this world, at least not yet. The next two issues will truly be the testament to whether or not this story was worth telling. Yet, I’m so engrossed in the world and the character of Ellie that I eagerly await the next two issues, just not as eagerly as I await the game itself.
Reviewed by – Jimbus_Christ