Jeremy Larsen and Cecilia Latella’s The Endling is the latest title from Mark Waid’s Thrillbent stable to be released via ComiXology. With it’s story of the last born human living inside a computer simulation, we ask is The Endling an evolutionary step on from it’s Thrillbent stablemates?
Writer: Jonathan Larsen
Artist: Cecilia Latella
Price: £1.49/$1.99 from ComiXology
The Endling sees high school student and science lab intern Amber Black run a computer simulation of mankind’s evolution billions of years into the future. There she sees a hyper-evolved human child born to a tribe of ‘savages’, and quickly learns she can talk to the child in a surreal semi-divine manner. This so-called ‘Endling’ is more evolved than the cannibalistic people who surround him and wants to be part of the real world that Amber inhabits instead of the simulated world inside the computer. As Amber attempts to reconcile her newfound role as digital deity with the real-world issues of running the simulation without permission and coping with jealous fellow interns -not to mention also trying to impress a boy called Zavi – The Endling is a really smart, subtle and engaging mix of science fiction and fairytale.
The story is split between the simulated world of the ‘Endling’ (a savage, brutal world that seems to have regressed to primitive times), and the modern day environment of the CDC@Home lab where Amber works. Larsen’s script mixes plausible, real-world science fiction ideas with elements of fairy-tale (references to Pinocchio perhaps foreshadowing how the story will pan out?) and a modern day ethical drama to create a really intriguing, albeit slow-burning, tale.
Reminiscent at time of IDW Pubishing’s Memorial, it has a soft gentle pace, with an almost feminine feel to it – which in part is thanks to the influence of Italian artist Cecilia Latella. Her strong simple line work gives the book a very smart classic feel – especially when it comes to the characterisation of the Endling – and as well as mastering the modern world of the science lab, she also has a great grasp of the split world of the savagary of the Endling’s world juxtaposing the simulated world’s barbarity with the modern world’s tranquility.
Even within that savage world, the story moves along at a fairly sedate pace, without much in the way of bombastic action or macho posturing, which may be a plus if you are looking for a book with more substance and less gung ho attitude. However at times it did feel as if it was crying out for something exciting and dramatic to happen to speed things along!
As we’ve seen in titles like The Eighth Seal and Moth City, Thrillbent‘s titles use ComiXology‘s Guided View technology to great aplomb with smart transitions and sequentially revealing pages and The Endling is no exception to this. Although fairly basic, without too many earth-shattering new ideas, in a way this is good as it doesn’t distract from the flow of the story.
As a whole, the book does feel a bit pedestrian compared to the bombast and sophistication of some digital comics and so may not be to everyone’s taste. However it is still a smartly written, charming story that has a well defined idea of where it is going and may still cause some surprises in the long run as the ideas for an exciting story are definitely there.
“A science fiction fairytale with a modern twist. Larsen’s script is well rounded with some solid characters and an intriguing story, while Latella’s artwork really brings the story to life. A slow-burning story without an excess of frills The Endling is really enjoyable read that is ideal for comics fans of all-ages.”