The Last Contract #1 (of 4)
STORY BY: Ed Brisson
ART BY: Lisandro Estherren
COLORS BY: Niko Guardia
LETTERS BY: Ed Brisson
COVER BY: Lisandro Estherren, Vanesa R. Del Rey
PUBLISHER: BOOM! Studios
Boom! were on a roll in 2015, blazing a path with some of the most fun, original work we read all year. It seems only right that this reviewer’s first sit-down behind the keyboard in 2016 is to see if their newest outing, The Last Contract, is an instant killshot or completely off target. End of hitman puns, I promise.
The quiet, quaint setting of a tiny restaurant in British Columbia, fitted with forgetful old man and friendly waitress shouldn’t fool you – because as soon as the action hits, it’s hard and it’s fast and it is in your face for The Last Contract.
And violent. Oh there’s no holding back on the violence.
When a young biker thug confronts the previously mentioned old geezer in his home, your first thoughts go to a mugging or a burglary, but as it turns out our ol’ nameless hero is a handy sonuvagun with a knife, going full-blown pensioner Liam Neeson on the punk. “No one’s got any sense of duty anymore,” he says after a messy mutilation. He’s our hitman, and already we’re hooked.
But thankfully, this violence, at times nearing over-the-top, knows its place. It knows it needs to be secondary to a story that feels a bit nostalgic, while also being fresh and relevant, unafraid of hard-hitting tension and a few laughs along the way.
Getting the information from the kid and his driver he needed, the old man soon sets off on an elderly hunt for vengeance; he has a name he needs to look for: Burrell. That’s all he needs. The kid had given it up nice and easy, so now it’s a hunt for his man. Luckily, our ageing assassin is a pro, so much like the rest of the book, there’s no real faffing around. He finds Burrell, he confronts Burrell, and our story is underway.
Which adds to the charm of The Last Contract. Knowing it’s four issues in length gives it the wham-bam feel that there’s no need to get too intrenched with unnecessary subplots and deep pensive moments. Instead, we’re getting a straight-up, straight-shooting thrill ride that shows off the skills of writer Ed Brisson and artist Lisandro Estherren and their ability to tell a white-knuckled, engaging story, better than any action-packaged dribble you get on the big screen these days.
There’s no school like the old school, and The Last Contract is that teacher you know not to mess with.
5 out of 5 Nerds