“The Last Broadcast #1” is brought to you by Boom! Studios’ Archaia line and lives up to its promise of being “an urban exploration adventure.” Spelunking has been the subject of comics before, believe it or not. That goes back to 2009 and Jeff Parker and Steve Lieber’s “Underground.” That comic is a character-driven action adventure, which is saying a lot. Either you’re one or the other most of the time. Well, lightning strikes twice with “The Last Broadcast.” And all of the action is not just underground.
Written by André Sirangelo, and art by Gabriel Iumazark, this comic comes at you full of quirk and mystery. Everything about this comic has a smooth and ethereal quality. It’s so good at what it’s doing that you’ll want to just linger on pages for a bit longer than usual. The look, the attitude, has a nice connection with the work of Dave McKean. This other-worldly immersive feel is also thanks to lettering by Deron Bennett, design by Scott Newman, and editing by Rebecca Taylor. And a word about lettering, it is usually best when it does not call attention to itself but, if it is going to take that route, it better be for a reason. Bennett has quite a distinctive style with his jagged word balloons. They fit right in with a story that is perpetually moving in odd angles.
We begin with an ambiguous montage that includes the Golden Gate Bridge and an explosion at an amusement park. Then, with the next page, we have a sexy young woman taking a drag on a cigarette. The smoke irritates a young man in the bed next to her. This is a hospital. She is supposed to be a nurse. And he is supposed to be a magician. And it just gets stranger from there on.
There are two separate stories going on, that are most likely to collide, and which involve conspiracy theories and the supernatural. Now, the magician, Ivan, that we first see in the hospital has his story to tell. We turn the clock back eight weeks to better understand what is going on. In this first issue of seven, entitled, “Notes from the Underground,” we follow Ivan on his doomed attempts to pursue his magic act. His agent drops in on him. He explains that a file full of photographs and notes about the legendary magician, Blackhall the Incredible, were left on his doorstep. This is Ivan’s hero. And this is what Ivan needs to focus on if he ever wants to make any money or do anything significant. Ivan needs to write a book about Blackhall and uncover the mystery about his death back in 1934.
At the same time that this is going on, we have two intrepid spelunkers, members of the renegade world of urbEx (urban exploration), and they have their hands full. They have found the hidden bunker of Blackhall the Incredible.
And it gets even better and more complex as you go deeper. Gabriel Iumazark is an awesome Brazilian indie artist who distills manga in very interesting ways. It’s more of a painterly approach which is why I bring up Dave McKean. André Sirangelo’s script has a very cool style about it that will bring to mind everything from “Ocean’s Eleven” to Image Comics’ “Thief of Thieves.” And why is this comic called, “The Last Broadcast”? Well, there are a number or reasons one of which is that Blackhall had a thing for using a radio to contact the dead. Yeah, sounds intriguing.
This is what cool comics are all about. This is definitely a look at the future of comics.
“The Last Broadcast #1” is available now. Visit our friends at Boom! Studios to learn more about this comic right here.