Barely a month along, 2017 is already unleashing some exciting new movies, from superheroes to science fiction to action to adventure. Among the anticipated offerings next month is the Matt Damon-fronted epic, The Great Wall. The film has already stirred up some controversy, due to whitewashing concerns, although its director has dismissed the claims. Fans of Legendary Pictures’ other big beastie pictures, like Godzilla and Pacific Rim, may be willing to overlook the controversy, though, if the film, set in 19th century China, delivers on its monster-mashing premise.
For those unsold on yet another colossal creature feature or merely curious about the film, though, Legendary Comics is offering a taste of what’s to come in a brand new prequel comic.
Arriving today, the precursor graphic novel to the fascinating action-packed tale delves into Chinese history and mythology, creating its own legends built around The Great Wall: Last Survivor. Written by Arvid Nelson with artwork by Gian Fernando, the comic came out today under Legendary Pictures’s comic book imprint. It follows the adventures of a young boy, Bao, ripped from his family and trained to face a threat so terrifying that it’s been kept secret from the public. As a member of the Wall’s defenders, the Nameless Order, he faces trials which test his wishes for a normal life against the vows he’s taken for the Order.
Take a look at a preview below:
Combining elements of a monster movie with a war film, as well as a blend of loosely-history and mythology, the film and comic both focus on the assault of the Tao Tei, clever creatures who are linked to human greed from China’s ancient past. The Great Wall movie stars Damon as a British mercenary in China during the Song Dynasty, who fights alongside the Order against the avaricious monsters. Directed by Zhang Yimou, the joint Chinese-American production has already earned back its budget plus a little extra, bringing in roughly $200 million thanks to a strong showing in China, and will debut in th U.S., Canada, and England, among other territories, in February.
Launching a prequel comic is a great way to bring attention to the upcoming feature, roughly a month before it hits theaters. While not required reading for the film, the graphic novel does provide a broader overview of the film’s mythos and the world it inhabits. Last Survivor also sets up the backstory of the massive, covert order, introducing readers to the stakes that the cast, including Jing Tian, Andy Lau, and Willem Dafoe, will face. It also introduces the five animal-named corps – bear, crane, eagle, tiger, and deer – that have pledged their lives to defend the Wall from the ruthless onslaught of the Tao Tei every 60 years.
The Great Wall: Last Survivor sets the stakes and the tone for the film, which involve the fate of the world, presuming its brave warriors fail in their mission. If the film is as intense as the prequel comic, it promises some very 300-style action wrapped in Chinese lore and rampaging hoards of monsters. It will be interesting to see whether the graphic novel raises public awareness of the film in preparation for its upcoming launch.
The Great Wall: Last Survivor is currently available online and in print.