LAST FLIGHT OUT #1/ Script by MARC GUGGENHEIM/ Art by EDUARDO FERIGATO/ Colors by MARCELO COSTA/ Letters and Design by DIEGO SANCHES/ Published by DARK HORSE COMICS
Dr. Ben Caewood put his work above all else. How could he not when he was charged with saving the human race? The engineer devoted himself entirely to designing the great space arks that would carry humanity into the stars, as the Earth was determined to be too polluted to remain livable. Dr. Caewood was so committed to the project that he missed the birth of his daughter, Sara, and was largely absent from her life, leaving her to be raised by a succession of tutors and nannies following the death of his wife.
24 years later, the last of the three arks is one day away from launching and Dr. Caewood is meant to be supervising its launch before going into space himself. But the little girl who became a woman without him is missing, somewhere in the urban sprawl of what was Chicago, as all Hell is breaking loose. This leads Dr. Caewood to pull some strings and secure a black-ops military team to help him rescue his daughter.
Last Flight Out #1 proved something of a surreal read the same week that the United States evacuated Afghanistan. Despite reportedly having been “burning a hole in [the] notebook” of writer Marc Guggenheim for several years, the story feels incredibly timely. This is largely due to the interjection of brief sequences taken from social media, where we get a glimpse of the culture of this not-too-distant future and see that many people are refusing to get on the arks, believing that the Earth is fine and that the effort to save humanity is all part of some liberal conspiracy.
Guggenheim’s script rings true and the action is well-paced. It suffers only in that Dr. Caewood is not the most sympathetic protagonist. I felt far more sympathy for the soldiers charged with helping him find his daughter, one of whom points out how utterly screwed up it is that she’s being asked to risk her life at this moment to help some rich tosspot save his daughter. Guggenheim adds nuance to this by having the same soldier spout-off the same sort of “what do the experts know?” rhetoric that led to mask mandates being outlawed in some states. It’s a subtle way of adding complexity to the characters and turning them into more than cardboard cutouts.
The artwork brings the story to life, perfectly presenting a cinematographic view of the action. Eduardo Ferigato is a fantastic visual storyteller, whose panel layouts keep the story flowing smoothly. The colors by Marcelo Costa are well-chosen throughout, with a muted palette bringing across the story’s themes of decay and desperation. There is also fantastic design work, courtesy of Diego Sanches, in the various “real-world” segments showing social media sites and top secret documents.
Last Flight Out contains all the action of a summer blockbuster and a message that is timely without being preachy. Backed by solid artwork, this is one flight you won’t want to miss!
Last Flight Out #1 releases on September 8, 2021.