”The Return of Bruton!” That was all I ever had to read in order to get excited for this big issue. I mean, it’s not everyday that you will sit there looking forward to an issue where for the most part there is the battle and nothing else. That is how you make readers feel like their investment is being rewarded.
What I loved about this last issue was that this creative team finally had that one issue where they got to indulge in all of the action you knew they wanted to get into since the debut of this book. Every issue up to this point made it easy to overlook the fact that it wasn’t just straightforward action because the story was just that compelling and engaging. There was not one month where we were not blown away by how character driven this could be by just focusing on the selling point of the book. That being the experience that comes with life after you have saved the world. It defeats the purpose to quickly jump right into the next big fight. That has to be earned through an actual exploration of what that life looks like for someone making strides to be a fully functioning adult.
So after four issues of getting a taste of what their lives were like from revisiting ghosts of the past, now was the time to show us what a real fight looks like from fighters like Vale and Timor. From the minute they sprung into action, there was an appreciation from what we were seeing from them when they got serious. When it comes to a book like No One Left to Fight? We aren’t following a progression in power. This is already them years after they have hit their peak. So what you got out of this battle instantly gave you the same excitement as if you were seeing Goku and Vegeta in DBZ: Super, or Naruto and Sasuke when they faced down Momoshiki. The visual of it was both explosive and impressive because the art team took us to that level with the two while at the same time making their power more unique to them. Much of this issue ended up being the fight, yet at the same time there wasn’t ignoring the bits and pieces that we were able to pick up about what happened in the last fight with Bruton. We walked away with much more clarity, and even understanding in why Timor feels the way he does about who all the credit went to.
Now there wasn’t too much to Bruton himself, but it was more of what he brought out in this trio which mattered more than anything else. It was interesting to see the anger he brought out in Timor, the panic he brought out in Krysta, and the fire he re-lit in Vale.
How the battle concluded was a great twist. Normally we come to assume we are going to get that one big boom to end it all. However, we were treated to the kind of assault which ended up being more surgical than anything else. And this attack came from the one person who we never got to see much of in action. Personally I admire when we are given the opportunity to step away from the main fighter(s) being the only one with something to offer in the final confrontation.
The artwork for this battle between Vale, Timor, and Bruton was simply glorious! From start to finish the art was mind-blowing because they saved all the big stuff for the end. Let’s start with the battle itself. The choreography for the fight was excellent. It went from something similar to the speed fighting from Dragon Ball, to something more familiar to fight manga where the two main fighters are in perfect sync with one another. What caught me off guard was a couple of ways that they decided to make the techniques they use more unique to them. Obviously there was going to be things you’ve seen before, but what mattered most was how they took those concepts and made them more specific to this world. For this issue in particular they hit the peak of their creativity, while also showing that even then they still room to do more. All of these things were done with a greater intensity as well. Especially from the colors which jump right at you with every strike. I enjoyed the kind of yellow used because it created this visual as if they were burning with the strength of a sun. And that was after getting quite the lightshow just from their own personal colors. Beyond this, I believe that what shocked me most was not seeing what kind of power Krysta had before they put it on display.
Being that this was the issue of the big battle, this was definitely where we were getting Esposito’s best work. He pretty much went wild with the sound effects from their strikes, their auras blasting, to even the unique shakiness of Vale and Timor’s words to show that they were vibrating with power in this moment where they had to dig deep.
By the end of this final issue, I wasn’t telling myself this was the book I always wanted. I was telling myself that this is the book I wanted more of, because the truth is that it’s never truly the end for a book like this if enough readers are behind it. Not when they even ended this on a note which makes you want to see what comes next. There was someone left to fight, and it was a fight worth waiting for. What we got here? This is what readers should expect from an issue-length brawl in a comic, because when you commit to that? You go all in! It was the kind of fight you want this creative team to be able to give to us again. That on top of a story which challenges everything that makes up your average fight manga.