The Last Broadcast
Writer: Andre Sirangelo
Artist: Gabriel Iumazark
Archaia / Boom Studios
The graphic novel The Last Broadcast categorizes itself as an “Urban Exploration Adventure” which was unbeknownst to me as a genre prior to digitally swiping my way through its contents. At first glance, it’s incredibly visually appealing. These are not elaborate artistic creations but the style and feel of each page really set off the atmosphere of the story. The cover of issue 5 is so incredibly haunting—I had to order the individual comic myself so it can hang it in my bathroom to make its patrons wonderfully uncomfortable.
Initially the story doesn’t stand out other than it’s about magicians, and we all know magicians work as fantastic entertainers, as long as you’re not watching one in a restaurant. The story has the usual group of ragtag people thrown together under a relatable circumstance. In the case of Last Broadcast it’s disappearances. The group doesn’t like each other but that is manageable under their need for each other. Together, these unlikely heroes combine their human abilities and take on the largest religious cult in the world. This story does not shake the tree of original plot lines one bit, but it’s a page turner nonetheless.
What guided my hand around panels and page layouts was the incredibly charming and funny dialogue. My best description of the chatting would be something like, a less effeminate form of “quirky.” Even the comic itself describes the group as grownup Goonies. The characters are fun and you care about them. You get scared for them, but you also laugh at their functionality around such Scooby-Doo like adventures. Did I mention the artwork already? Because this entire time it’s just dripping with mood-setting awesomeness that contrasts the spoken word around it. The point is, this an excellent graphic novel.
The Last Broadcast might not be everyone’s cup of tea as it does mix genres. Purists will most likely cry “Fowl” at several turns, and if you’re too serious, you might struggle with some plot points. This is also a terrible digital read; unless you possess a large tablet with an excellent panel-to-panel comic app, this graphic novel will frustrate the hell out of you. The story frequently jumps around different timelines so trying to read it from my phone or laptop had me going, “Ok, where the fuck am I now?” This is a hard copy graphic novel because it’s far too pretty to be tucked away in a memory file. Writers and illustrators still largely set up comic books to have interesting tid-bits sitting at the bottom of the right page (So you turn it). With the popularity of panel to panel viewing, this effect is completely lost because we can’t see what’s coming in any spot. Hopefully going forward this viewing style is put to better use, because it could throw wonderful curve balls to the pacing future of comic books.
So overall, we have the good: artwork, colors, funny characters, general creepiness, page turning abilities; and the bad: genre-bending, simple story, fractured timeline. The key question for anyone who finishes a story is…do I want to find out what happens next? For me it’s a mega yes! I find dark places with humor almost cozy and calming. Give me a glass of scotch, a pompous looking chair and a lone lamp; I’d gladly fall into this rabbit hole anytime.