What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about the release of the No One Left to Fight TPB! If you’ve read any of my reviews for No One Left to Fight, then you know that this was one of those from 2019 which you had to be crazy not to pick up. If you loved Dragon Ball, maybe even Naruto, or any fight manga in general, then this was a book that should have been on your radar. 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.
Off the bat, the reason you want to pick up this TPB of No One Left to Fight is because there is everything to gain from being able to jump into a story like this without a break between chapters. When you think of fight manga, the first thing that comes to mind is long and drawn out stories and battles, however that is not the case with NOLTF. Certainly not the case if you pick up this trade. You get the benefit of a story which does not waste your time with suspense. You jump right into this trio who has saved the world countless times, growing up together and growing apart in the process. You get your reunion, a reason for it, and where this takes them from there.
When it came to the story, No One Left to Fight shakes things up because of when this takes place. The characters 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. That was where you could see how the wheels began turning for Aubrey Sitterson. He showed where he got his inspiration, and then made so much of this his own. There was action to look forward to, but it was just as important to see where these characters and this world found importance in your investment. For such an exciting book, there are some hard realities that we all find ourselves coming to terms with. I could appreciate all of it because there aren’t many books out there that will find the time to address these things that are vital to growing up. Understanding what you have, cherishing what you have, never taking that or anyone for granted. I wasn’t prepared for any of that from this story, and love it all the more for being so bold in execution.
I would even point out that the world-building was just as amazing. When you create a universe like this, there is absolutely nothing to lose from building the world from the ground up. Meaning buildings you could only see within these pages, animals, races, species, even plants. All of those things together immersed you in a setting which consistently offered something new to take in from start to finish.
By the end of this book, the most excitement you will experience is when this creative team allows themselves to indulge in all of the action you knew they wanted to get into since the flip of the first page. The action is earned, and for that every scene sticks with you more than it could have if there was more fighting than storytelling. When the punching and blasting begin? They go all in! Unique moves, explosive energy, even transformations which capture the culmination of a life spent fighting and training.
Now as far as villains go, they did a great job between the Hierophant and Bruton. Neither of the two really get as much time being fleshed out like our trio, but it was always more important to see what these two villains could bring out in them. This mattered more than anything else and I couldn’t argue with that either. This isn’t one of those books where you needed to understand why the bad guys do what they do. At the point in time this story takes place, they’ve already done their worst and all you need to know from there is that their presence comes with trouble. Not to mention action which they delivered when it counted. It was interesting to see the anger which Bruton in particular brought out in Timor, the panic he brought out in Krysta, and the fire he re-lit in Vale.
There’s one thing that will sell you on this book from the start, and that is the artwork. Whether we are talking about the cover art. or the interior art, the artwork in general sweeps you off of your feet as nothing you will see in any other book on shelves in the same genre. That said, the first thing about the art that will jump out at you is 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 Fico 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.
Seeing how this is at the same time a TBP, it was also cool to walk through the steps this creative team went through when both creating and breathing life into these scenes. There was a method to their madness, and all of that you could come to understand through the extra pages at the back of the book. For me personally, I appreciated getting what was going through the mind of Ossio as an artist who was doing both pencils and colors.
When it came to a book like No One Left to Fight? One thing you could never take from it was the standout lettering from Esposito. Nothing is more important than word boxes and balloons that create distinctive voice. It made a big difference from the first issue all the way to the last when it didn’t even end at giving characters a unique voice. It went a long way in creating excitable sound effects, and making every big hit and blast sound like it was as impactful as it looked. With that said, it was definitely the last stretch where we were getting Esposito’s best work. He goes 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 that once crucial moment where they had to dig deep.
No One Left to Fight is the comic book you’ve always wanted, and you’ll want to collect this TPB even if you have all the single issues. I don’t think you’ll find a more thrilling book from Dark Horse right now which takes everything you love about action-packed manga, and gives you a glorious combination of the best of it in comic book form.