In their new comic The Least We Can Do, writer Iolanda Zanfardino and artist Elisa Romboli posit a world that’s a little bit dystopian, a little bit fantasy, and offers glimpses at a better world. The series follows “brainiac” protagonist Uriel as she wanders around a war-ravaged London looking for items that give off a special kind of energy called Medium not just for war, but to make the kind of world that she wants to live in. At the beginning she serves the status quo, but that definitely seems to change as the issue progresses.
The first thing that drew me to The Least Can We Do #1 is the enthusiasm in Romboli’s artwork, especially when Uriel is involved. Seeing a character that is grounded in being ethical and gaining knowledge to help her fellow humans is a breath of fresh air. Compared to the soldiers that harrass her new allies and are covered in armor like a medieval knight witha more futuristic color palette, Uriel represents openness and optimism. She might be introduced on the first page wearing a hood, but it can’t hold her back for long even though she has to sneak around to find Medium initially.
Although a bunch of other characters of various shapes, sizes, and gender expresssions/identities appear, Zanfardino and Elisa Romboli zero in on Uriel in this first issue and use a well-placed flashback to show readers how she ticks. They place the scene towards the end of the issue once there’s a better sense of her personality, and this makes it resonate on a more emotional level. In a world filled with violence, soldiers, and exploitation, Uriel just wants to read, learn, and improve her surroundings, which is quite noble and makes her an endearing protagonist and POV character.
Another strength of The Least We Can Do #1 is the book’s general aesthetic. Romboli combines a ruined, five minutes in to the future London with something straight out of your favorite fantasy RPG finding a happy medium between fantasy and sci-fi. The magic, medieval-style weaponry, and cozy libraries provide a kind of metaphorical cushion between the story and real world issues like censorship of library/school books and the military industrial complex. Plus Uriel discovering this hidden world of medium users and queer coded characters captures the thrill of finding folks that you can really be yourself around. (But with more colorful explosions.)
The Least We Can Do #1 has colorful visuals (Elisa Romboli’s use of side effects are a real treat.), energetic pacing until the end of the issue, and the cherry on top is that it features a protagonist that is driven by morals and her intellect in a violent, dystopian world. If you like unique, socially conscious takes on the fantasy genre, beefy resistance fighters, or shelves and shelves of books, then this comic is one to check out.
Story: Iolanda Zanfardino Art: Elisa Romboli
Story: 7.7 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Image Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Pre-order: TFAW – Zeus Comics – comiXology/Kindle