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Last Pick

Review

Last Pick

Look out world, it’s time for the underdogs to step up to the plate. LAST PICK, authored and illustrated by Jason Walz, is the first installment in a post-apocalypse graphic novel trilogy. A cartoonist and teacher, Jason Walz has written other graphic novels such as HOMESICK and an online series called CRAP SHOOT. LAST PICK is a novel filled with humor, danger and heart; it is a unique story that will have readers hooked from beginning to end.

Three years ago, aliens invaded earth and took everyone they deemed useful. The only ones left behind were deemed too old, too young, or too “disabled” to be of any use. But while most of those left are just trying to get by, twins Sam and Wyatt are looking for more than survival. They are fighting back. Together, they try to undermine the aliens and give hope back to humanity. Throwing aside labels and fighting with their strengths, the twins take on the alien invasion, not knowing that now, they are in even greater danger than before. The twins depend on each other, but in the midst of the apocalypse, will their bond be able to save them?

"LAST PICK is a novel filled with humor, danger and heart; it is a unique story that will have readers hooked from beginning to end."

While maintaining a fast and steady pace, Walz also takes time in the novel to explain past events in order to ground the reader. Employing flashbacks, he gives insight to their relationship. While these flashbacks do not always add to the plot, they are integral to understanding how the twins’ history effect their current identity. This added a more heartfelt and sweet tone to their relationship, and makes them not only more complex, but also more relatable characters. Despite these periodic peeks into the past, the plot is easy to follow. Amidst the twists and turns, concise side notes keep track of the time, setting and point of view.

Through Wyatt, Sam and other characters, Walz proves that no one is weak, despite the labels society gives others. Though Walz never directly says it, the dialogue alludes that Wyatt is autistic. The aliens and other humans believe Wyatt to be weak because of this; however, Sam knows that Wyatt’s talents are key to stopping the alien invasion. Wyatt and Sam are some of the best parts of this novel; with Wyatt’s unique perspective, Sam’s tough-girl attitude and their combined determination, the two heroes are immediately likable from the beginning. Walz uses their unique relationship to develop the twins’ character arcs as they share their vulnerability and support each other. Motivated by fear and hope, the twins reach out to others, and throughout the novel, it becomes clear that these characters will most likely play a greater role in future novels. The aliens, while they look foreign and green, are surprisingly not so different from humans. The aliens are as diverse as humans are, and Wyatt categorizes them the same way people categorize each other; there are dictator aliens, nerd aliens and even cute baby aliens. In the conversations Sam and Wyatt have with the intruders, it is clear that it is the alien culture of weakness versus strength that dominates their values. In fact, one alien appreciates bits of earth’s culture, but views humans as lesser only because he was taught that humans were less than them.

Filled with adventure and heart and wonderfully designed, this graphic novel is perfect for anyone who likes action, humor, heartfelt relationships and inspiring messages. In this battle to save humanity and prove that everyone has strength, Sam and Wyatt will have readers rooting for them from start to finish.

Reviewed by Lauren C., Teen Board Member on October 17, 2018

Last Pick
by Jason Walz