What can I say about this one? They had me at “For fans of Dragon Ball and other fight manga”! What more do you need when you are a fan of either. In my case, I love anything Dragon Ball, and this one had that theme written all over that gorgeous cover. With that said, this one asks the most important question yet. What does a fighter do when there’s no one left to fight? We get so used to the idea that you just keep getting stronger to face stronger enemies that it’s rare when someone is bold enough to take a step back and ask about what happens when there’s no next opponent.
From the start of this story, I enjoyed the point where they had chosen to kick things off. They chose an excellent point in time where the final battle was not only won, there was a great deal of time lapsed from that victory. Like I said above, most of us tend to be used to the main character moving from one big battle to the next. There is usually some time to rest between, but there is always the emergence of something new and then going through the same process working up to that big confrontation. No One Left to Fight #1 shakes things up because they have all for the most part moved on to living normal lives. They have families, jobs, kids, other obligations than to throw themselves into the next fight. Part of me couldn’t help creating contrasts to Boruto in my mind. A manga which takes place after the Great War in Naruto. When those ninja grew up, they still had to work to maintain that peace with danger still showing signs of presence. In the world of No One Left to Fight, they cut past the next danger and simply ask what you do when that is it.
The cast for this book was fun right off the bat. Vale is an exciting new character because he fits everything you love about your main character in this kind of story. When you pick up that new fight manga, that lead tends to be head strong, obsessive, endlessly hungry, and has an unnecessary way of stealing the spotlight. That is all wrapped up into Vale. He’s all of those things which you appreciate being able to see in a comic. When it came to Krysta and Timor, I enjoyed the way they were introduced and made us feel like the history between them and Vale was deep. They had their moments of joy, reflection, and even tension all based on the adventures they used to go on. It was all refreshingly familiar, including the relationship between Vale and Timor. That there felt the most like Dragon Ball. On the same side like Goku and Vegeta, but you could see the hints of rivalry that must have existed in the past. Especially for Timor who shows his regrets and resentment in a different way in the presence of Vale.
With that said, the last thing you needed to see from this debut issue was some action to fully sell you on this story. I was impressed with the way they approached this because it was lightning fast, and it was cool to get a taste of what makes some of these characters formidable. There was punching, some knees, but more importantly blasting. I would say the best part about it was the gut punch we were given when they cut things off right in the middle of the first fight. Remind you of a certain show?
The overall beauty of this book comes from the artwork of Fico Ossio. I was personally glad to only see one name for the art team. In my opinion, some of the best work you could ever get out of a book like this is when you have that one skilled artist who can do it all. One of the biggest sells for this book had to be everything unique about these characters. Vale, Krysta, and Timor look like characters you’ve never seen before. They look Dragon Ball-ish, Naruto-ish, and just a mix of all sorts of things. It was actually pretty fun trying to pinpoint where they could have gotten some of the inspiration from. Their designs in general were wild. Wild hair, clothing, they even went wild with some of the other creatures that could exist alongside them. If it wasn’t the pencil work, that is was most definitely the colors which grab your attention. I was amazed by the kind of colors that Ossio was able to apply to the art. Everything was vibrant, flashy, right in your face. I mean, when was the last time you read something in comics where the main character had hotrod pink hair like this? Aside from this, great use of highlights, textures, lighting effects, and even facial expressions.
It also should be mentioned that the lettering was great too. Nothing is more important than word boxes and balloons that create distinctive voice. It made a big difference in this first issue for some of the craziness that unfolded with Vale in particular.
Does No One Left to Fight #1 live up to the hype? It really does! I felt like I was reading a manga, which is an experience in comic form that you should never pass up. This story so far takes everything you love about Dragon Ball and other fight manga, and goes wild with it. With the added bonus of course of showing you things that the other stories aren’t willing to go all in with. Exploring regret, resentment, and growing older will be the driving force of this story when the entertainment value keeps you coming back for more.