Slasher movies are full of familiar tropes that often make them oddly nostalgic, despite the ever present threat – and inevitable follow-through on said threat – of creatively delivered violence and gore.
The ‘Final Girl’, which sees a lone girl – usually the last survivor of a group of horny teens – fighting back against a masked killer, is one such trope. It’s this trope that Final Boy gets its name from, though any thoughts about this being a gender swapped slasher movie in comic book form are quickly laid to rest in this first issue of what is planned to be a seven part series.
When Scott and Hailey go to the woods to hook up, they get more than they bargained for; unbeknownst to the young couple, they’re being watched – and it’s not long before a hooded, masked and armed killer interrupts their late night liaison.
The story and action here lean heavily on the tropes of the slasher movie; it certainly shares the lack of subtlety seen in the genre. There’s the very set-up of the story itself: the asshole jock who just wants to have sex for the sake of it and the more innocent girl who genuinely has feelings for the uncaring, manipulative guy who’ll tell her anything she wants to hear if he can get her in the sack.
There’s also the line on the cover ‘HE DOESN’T LIKE IT WHEN YOU HAVE SEX’ and one particularly blatant, pretty distasteful page that drives home the uncomfortably phallic and sexual nature of a killing demonstrate that demonstrate this lack of subtlety most clearly.
Yet – is that a problem? Certainly not for fans of slasher movies, who revel in the exact types of twisted, graphic and close-up kills seen within these pages. The set-up too is so familiar and within the ‘rules’ of the genre (which post-modern slasher movie Scream condensed and demonstrated so cleverly) that it simply builds anticipation for the gore that you just know is only a few page turns away.
Writer Sam Carter does a good job at bringing these clichés to the page; he also adds in a slightly off kilter final sequence that adds an unusual dimension to one of the characters – hinting that maybe, hopefully, we’re heading into less trope-driven territory over the course of the next issues of the series.
Artist Marlon Souza delivers his best work once we’re away from the more conversational sequences in the comic, demonstrating a strong flair for the action and gore that the story demands. There is the issue of that aforementioned page that feels in extraordinarily bad taste – even for a slasher movie tribute – but in general there’s a lot of excellent art on display here.
Danilo Leão’s colouring is strong throughout; though the graphic violence is on full display when the action kicks off, Leão doesn’t overwhelm the art with bloody visuals. It’s there of course (how could it not be?), but I was relieved that Souza’s art was able to speak for itself; the colouring is perhaps the most nuanced element of the comic.
In general though, this is a well constructed and impressive debut for an indie comic; Final Boy should endear itself to lovers of classic 70s and 80s slasher movies without any trouble at all. It’ll be good to see the series move beyond the confines of the genre it homages so closely, but for now issue one sets the scene well.
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