The Last Dragon is a beautifully presented treatment of a self-contained story by Jane Yolen. The art is quite lovely and much more full color art than illustrative quality. The lush visuals work well with intriguing storytelling to create a memorable read.
Story: After generations of peace in a small village, a dragon has reappeared and is stealing people for food. Healer and youngest daughter in her family, Tansy loses her father to the elusive dragon and researches a way to end its reign of terror. Meanwhile, her village send out three boys to find a hero to slay the dragon. But the man they return is more self aggrandizing than epic – requiring Tansy to find the means to defeat the dragon with ingenuity rather than brawn.
Yolen plays with several ‘epic ballad’ cliches with the story – taking the air out of an overblown hero and allowing the damsel to do more than be in distress. Characters are quite nuanced and definitely no one is black and white. Several twists in the story allow for amusing self aware jokes that can be quite a delight.
The art is lovely – players of Magic: The Gathering trading card game will recognize Guay’s work immediately. With a color palette reminiscent of Alma Tadema and the post impressionistic period, the panels are more like paintings than line art. And while the action between panels (and especially consistency in character appearances) may be problematic as a result, it is definitely quite striking work here.
The Last Dragon is an enjoyable read with beautiful artwork. Clearly quality work from artists at the top of their game. Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.