4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
Many filmmakers would have you believe that extraterrestrials are all bad, invading to wreak havoc on the human race, experimenting on us, enslaving us, etc. And so would author Jason Walz, for that is just what the aliens in his graphic novel, Last Pick, do.
The first book in what is to be a trilogy follows twins Sam and Wyatt after the unfriendly invaders have taken their parents, along with all the other humans who are not young, old, or "useless." The interlopers have also left some of their kind on Earth, the better to keep an eye on the homosapiens. Having lived on their own for three years, the duo are bound and determined to make the most of things, including helping others who were left behind and are even less fortunate than they. They are also hoping to find where their parents were taken and rescue them. But now the non-natives are returning; will the twins be in the next group of earthlings to be "scooped"?
I cannot overstate my love for a good alien abduction or invasion story, so this tale was like catnip for me, and I was all but rolling around on the floor in pleasure. The story had a steady pace, too, so I didn't feel like I had to either put on my running shoes to keep up or take Vivarin to stay awake. In addition to the main thread, the yarn also started each chapter with a few pages of what things were like before, so I was able to see for myself the bond that the children had with their parents, which added another intriguing layer to the journey. The many facets to Last Pick kept it from being just another alien story.
Sam and Wyatt were interesting characters to tag along with. What I liked most about them was the symbiotic relationship they had. Sam, the combative girl, was the brawn, while her sensitive brother, Wyatt, was the brains of the outfit. Rather than working against them, their differences actually worked for them, allowing them to accomplish a lot more than either of them could have managed on their own. The supporting characters were also useful, and I greatly enjoyed meeting them all. Of the secondary characters, my favorite was Charlie, an adult who came out of hiding to help the pair.
One of the things I like most about the Star Wars series is looking at all the different alien forms, and it's likewise one of the things that I most enjoyed about this book, though the alien bodies did tend to gross me out a bit. The comic book motif was perfect for this story, and the drawings kept me captivated. When I wasn't being sickened by one of the foreigners, I was admiring the world, decrepit though it was. I'm generally satisfied with reading digital books, but I could see myself forking over the money to get this series in paperback as well.
Last Pick was definitely edited, as I didn't find even one typographical error. I am therefore thrilled to give this book 4 out of 4 stars. I wholeheartedly recommend this novel of graphics to fans of alien abduction and invasion stories, lovers of graphic novels, and people who like reading sci-fi in general. Even though there's no profanity or sex in the tale, I'd still warn that the subject matter may be a bit much for young readers, so caution should be taken before allowing them to crack this open. Also, as noted earlier, there are two more books to follow, so this tale ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Bookworms who dislike hanging may want to bear this in mind before diving in. For my part, I fully intend to keep swimming.