Advance Review: Change is Constant In `The Last Session’ Vol. 1

by Tom Smithyman

Overview

If it’s been a while since you’ve been in high school or played a roleplaying game, you might want to shy away from this book. On the other hand, if you’re a fan of both genres, this story about the inevitability of change and our need to get along with each other, might be right for you.

Overall
6/10
6/10

If a comic book rendition of high school friends playing a roleplaying game is your idea of a great read, then The Last Session is for you. On the other hand, if that sounds like pretty boring subject matter on top of teen angst, you wouldn’t be wrong either.

The limited series, collected in this single volume, follows a group of high school students who start playing a Dungeons & Dragons-like roleplaying game when their afterschool club fails. Four years later, just as the group is about to break up and go their separate ways, they race to finish the epic quest. The story is told partly in the real world, and partly in the fictional swords and sorcery universe.

Admittedly, its overly geeky subject matter being told through a fairly geeky medium. That is only part of series’ problem though. The real issue is that the teens’ story reads like a script from an old Afterschool Special. The group is having trouble dealing with change, particularly the addition of Cassandra, a new player who approaches the game in a different way.

They end up alienating her, bringing her to tears. In the end, though – spoiler alert – Cassandra was right all along. It’s not exactly a nuanced story.

Writer Jasmine Walls has a bit more luck with the fantasy side of the story. At first, watching someone else’s D&D game doesn’t feel all that compelling. But she turns the story on its head by the end, making for a uncharacteristically cool and unexpected ending to the band’s years-long adventure.

Artist Dozerdraws is having fun with his animation-like drawings, particularly the skeletons, liches and half-orcs that inhabit the fantasy world.

While some of the characters have trouble adapting to change, they understand it’s inevitable – and constant – and learn to make the most of it. That is just as true in the real world as it is in the land of dice and deathtraps.

The Last Session Vol. 1 will be available for purchase on June 22, 2022.

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