Writer: Iolanda Zanfardino
Artist: Elisa Romboli
Covers A-C: Elisa Romboli
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 14, 2022
Uriel lives in a world controlled by a military dictatorship. She knows there’s a resistance but she doesn’t know where to look. But Uriel is young, determined, and driven by the need to do whatever she can to make things better.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Least We Can Do #1 Review.
World-building is complicated. Stories can explain nothing and rely on implication and subtext, they can infodump the necessary details all at once, or they can pick some middle path. In THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1, writer Iolanda Zanfardino opts for something very near an infodump–to mixed results.
THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1 takes place in an unspecified future, 40 years after a world war known as “The Creation”. The discovery of materials called “the Medium”, which impart special abilities, aided humanity’s rebuilding efforts. Since then a military dictatorship has taken over.
This information and more is imparted throughout THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1. Uriel conveys some of this to the reader by way of a presentation to the resistance group. The issue conveys the rest via a guided tour through a resistance base.
The guided tour is the better of the two methods because Uriel’s arrival provides a reason for it. Through Uriel we learn details about the group, meet likely supporting characters, and find out what Uriel is likely to be doing.
The other choice–Uriel’s report–is a big stretch. We already know she’s overeager. The opening pages establish her enthusiasm. And after Uriel gives her an almost three-page report, it is never brought up again.
The saving grace of THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1’s narrative is a brief flashback scene at the end of the issue. Like most of the rest of the issue, it’s a scene conveying exposition. In this case, though, it’s character-centric. The scene delivers exposition via Uriel’s behavior and dialogue with others, and it provides a measure of motivation that is missing in the rest of the issue (beyond Uriel’s generic desire to do the right thing). This is the only scene in the issue that made me feel connected to Uriel as a real character.
The standout visual component in THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1 is the colors, the most striking of which is Uriel’s appearance before she finds her way to the resistance. She wears a cloak of bright red, a color seen nowhere else in these scenes. Uriel’s appearance is strangely evocative of Little Red Riding Hood. But this is likely unintentional because the natural extension of that reading is to suspect the resistance of being the Big Bad Wolf.
Elisa Romboli’s work stands out in other ways as well. Her use of shades of orange as the dominant color in the environment as Uriel searches for the resistance gives way to more colors once Uriel enters the headquarters until finally, Romboli is using a varied palette. The result is an environment softer and more welcoming than the world Uriel is looking to escape and change. Another nice touch is bookending the present-day story with a library setting, the first of which is dark and somewhat cold while the second is bright and warm.
THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1 is largely carried by the visuals. The narrative tells us very little about Uriel, but Romboli’s art makes her enthusiasm contagious. This goes a long way toward drawing the reader in. It also helps the narrative which, despite the somewhat heavy-handed delivery of exposition, effectively depicts a dangerous and oppressed world while somehow maintaining an almost light-hearted flair thanks to its depiction of Uriel. This is Zanfardino’s chief success. Unfortunately, Uriel’s actual story is barebones at best, and the extent to which THE LEAST WE CAN DO #1 is interesting is the result of whether or not the reader connects with its world.