'No One Left To Fight' Exclusive Preview: Read The First Three Pages Here

Is It The Comic You Always Wanted? Read On

No One Left To Fight, a new five-issue series from Dark Horse comics releasing July 3, bills itself as "the comic you always wanted." It's the brainchild of writer Aubrey Sitterson and artist Fico Ossio, born of their shared love for the Dragon Ball series. In this Newsweek exclusive, the duo discuss their creative process and the world-building ideas that make their "Goku, Vegeta and Bulma on a road trip" premise far richer than a mere Dragon Ball what-if exercise. But first, the good stuff. Here is a first issue preview featuring the first three pages of No One Left To Fight.

No One Left To Fight Preview 1
Dark Horse/Fico Ossio
No One Left To Fight Preview 2
Dark Horse/Fico Ossio
No One Left To Fight Preview 3
Dark Horse/Fico Ossio

The title gives away the premise, this is a story about how heroes define themselves in the absence of villains. It's where the Dragon Ball seed takes root. Ossio and Sitterson found inspiration by discussing a story the legendary franchise never tells (and with 508 episodes, 19 movies and three TV specials that's saying something).

"We've never seen the Dragon Ball characters at this stage in their lives, having completed their goals, won their battles, and struggling to figure out what's next. It's a very 30-something type of crisis," Ossio told Newsweek.

He rattles off other influences too, like My Hero Academia and One Punch Man. Sitterson explains there's a lot of influences on NOLTF, and that the creative process runs parallel with so many other comics that owe a piece of themselves to their forebears.

"It's a mix of so many different elements," he told Newsweek. "We're exploring them the same way any superhero comic plays with the tropes from decades of the cape comics that came before."

Influence can extend beyond character archetypes and tropes. Sitterson endeavored to make NOLTF as deep but accessible as he found Dragon Ball Z, which was his entry point to the franchise. He marveled at the way its creators managed to deliver a world so full of history that didn't fall apart under its own weight.

"They'd mention and allude to stuff, but never in a way that felt expository or, on the other hand, like it was punishing you for not having watched all 153 episodes of Dragon Ball. Creating that kind of depth was a priority for us," he said. "There are a few storytelling maxims I believe really strongly in. One is that you shouldn't ever waste time explaining things."

Fans shouldn't expect a lot of hand-holding as they progress through NOLTF. Sitterson set aside big info dumps and slews of captions in favor of an organic world that will grow along with the reader's understanding. He wants things to be compelling and enigmatic, not willfully difficult or confusing. And he's proud of the work so far.

"No One Left to Fight is the best thing I've done to date, it's also been the easiest to write," he said.

Writing tends to dominate the storytelling process in comics, with artists working off of what a writer gives them and not the other way around. But on NOLTF, Ossio and Sitterson expressed confidence in their collaborative spirit, with the character design feeding into the narrative in a way Sitterson said isn't normally seen in comics.

"The color of everything from characters' hair to their energy blasts says something about them, their history, and what they're going through," he said. "Fico's designs not only informed the characters themselves, but the world they inhabit. So, as long as he created designs that were interesting and aesthetically pleasing (which is like breathing to Fico), all I had to do was figure out how to assemble the pieces."

Visual storytelling extends beyond character development and into the setting too, which bolsters that history NOLTF keeps simmering in the background. Ossio found the "road trip" concept to be a rich vein for exploration, and allowed for a world that in many ways speaks for itself. Sitterson's maxims include a healthy aversion to explanation, so Ossio found opportunity to create cues for the audience to follow.

"Something we layered in visually was a type of ecological conscience – the whole story is meant to feel 'nature friendly,' set on an Earth that hasn't been conquered by civilization. The entire world has a wild feel to it, with a bunch of beautiful landscapes," he said.

Ossio also chose a unique, vibrant palette for the color schemes in NOLTF. And while there are reasons behind why things are colored a certain way, the colors being used are part of Ossio's effort to pay homage to Dragon Ball. Much like Sitterson's desire to emulate what he saw as incredibly deft storytelling, Ossio hopes to invoke the thrill of encountering something unexpected.

"It all has to do with how fresh and unique Dragon Ball Z felt to me the first time I saw it. All the Capsule Corporation technology, a cat as a master, an alien as a god, even a dog as a mayor – it was like nothing else I'd ever seen," he said. "Since I'm handling the color myself, I saw it as an opportunity to capture some of that same unpredictability, creating a look unlike anything else on the shelves."

Sitterson agrees.

"We love Dragon Ball and other manga, but we're unabashedly part of the American comics tradition – Fico's colors are a bold statement of that fact," he said. "No One Left to Fight is all the best stuff from decades of Dragon Ball and other fight manga, but condensed down into a different format: A full-color, eye-searing, pulse-pounding five-issue, American-style limited series. It's THE COMIC YOU ALWAYS WANTED."

No One Left To Fight will release on July 3. Fans interested in pre-ordering the entire series can learn more here.