The first thing I noticed about Last Order was the change in art style. What used to be heavily stylized character designs became very boring and unoriginal. I really want to stress this because the first Battle Angel, despite some mediocre art in the beginning of the series, still managed to look freakin' awesome! The art style is kind of retained for the first volume, but it changes fast and unexpectedly. Suddenly Alita looks like she has a horse face and frog lips, and so does pretty much everyone else who looks human. They offset this by having significantly more robots and cyborgs that don't
look like people at all, except these designs are messed up too. Somewhere along the line they must have ran out of ideas for robots because some of the new designs are absolutely hideous. In the roller ball arc of the original Battle Angel Alita, there is ONE character who looks stupid, and he happens to be a joke character.
Let me lay out some the new designs:
1. A huge monkey bot that shots lasers out of its even bigger penis
2. A shrimp bot (like the shellfish)
3. The Thing rip-off
4. A bot inside a bot inside a bot inside a bot
And this is only a taste of the ridiculous designs. So the only thing that really keeps the art score up is that it at least looks good, but that's about it.
Battle Angel Alita: Last Order starts by throwing the crappy ending of the original right out the window. This is a very good thing, as the original ending was rushed and didn't make any sense at all. The sequel picks up a couple chapters before the original ending. However, Last Order quickly falls prey to the "gotta explain everything" disease. Battle Angel Alita was great because it put all its focus into the characters and the action. Last Order is like reading a Wikipedia entry about the history of the Battle Angel universe. Okay, yes, there is action and poor attempts at philosophy stuff in Last Order, but it is all ruined by interruptions from boring flashbacks of people we don't care about. All the mystery to the setting was ruined as soon as they started trying to explain everything.
Then at least the characters ACT the same right? Wrong. You see, for some reason Alita forgot how much of a complete bad ass she used to be. Remember when she loved battle because it made her feel alive? That girl is dead now. So now she asks stupid cliche questions to herself like "Why am I fighting?" Umm, hello!!! Its because you LOVE to fight.
And then Alita grows a tail.
Arghhh, I feel so let down by Last Order. Battle Angel Alita was brilliant at conveying drama with little talking and little inner monologue, but Last Order is exactly the opposite: WORDS WORDS WORDS. Everyone also has a "special" attack now which they shout out like in every shonen ever (the penis monkey's is the libido cannon by the way). So what ever happened to just punching the brains out of people? I dunno, because that never happens anymore. A punch will happen, then the punched guy will take a page to talk about how this has changed him as a person. SERIOUSLY?
Fans of Battle Angel Alita, read it, because I guess its worth what little feel of the original it kept. Just don't be disappointed when Last Order turns out to be vastly inferior to the original.