The Last Musketeer
In this age of cavalier post-modernity, we’ve become largely accustomed to artists who bandy about cultural references with little regard for their significance or where they land on paint-splattered canvases. Scanning a few back cover descriptions of Jason’s work, one could be forgiven for quickly lumping the artist into this category.
Jason’s storylines have, after all, more often than not, been defined by the author’s affinity for the juxtaposition of seemingly divergent pieces of the cultural puzzle. Take The Left Bank Gang, which employs the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and James Joyce comic artists at the center of a noirish bank heist, or the zombie love story that was The Living and the Dead.
Nevermind the carefree European existentialism of his characters, or the fact that said cast is nearly always comprised of expressionless anthropomorphic animals that might have been drawn by a money-strapped Herge filling in an empty animator’s seat at Disney.
The Last Musketeer occupies similar territory, marrying the dated swashbuckling romanticism of Alexandre Dumas with the ominous specter of silent-era science fiction films. It’s clear in both cases, however, that even as Jason pokes fun at genre tropes, be it through the washed up titular musketeer or the green-skinned, Fu Machuesque Martian king leading the assault against the Earth’s oxygen supply, the artist has a great deal of respect for the styles in which he operates.
Jason’s appreciation for his source material helps him weave together divergent concepts, with an undercurrent of sincere appreciation for aspects such as Athos’s devotion to the musketeer code and the human emotions that ally him with his newfound Martian friends in a bid to save France from oxygen-hungry aliens working up to a surprisingly heartfelt conclusion.
Halfway into the book, it becomes easy to abandon all hesitation toward the absurdity of Jason’s premise, a testament to the artist’s masterful control, the apprehension replaced by the desire to inhabit his world just a little while longer.