Not only do we have a group review, which is pretty damn special in general, but it's also an advanced review! That's right, the participating writers will each give their score and thoughts about Image's newest title from Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña.
[su_quote url="https://imagecomics.com/comics/releases/seven-to-eternity-1"]The God of Whispers has spread an omnipresent paranoia to every corner of the kingdom of Zhal; his spies hide in every hall spreading mistrust and fear. Adam Osidis, a dying knight from a disgraced house, must choose between joining a hopeless band of magic users in their desperate bid to free their world of the evil God, or accepting his promise to give Adam everything his heart desires. Writer RICK REMENDER reteams with collaborators JEROME OPEÑA (Uncanny X-Force, Fear Agent) and MATT HOLLINGSWORTH (TOKYO GHOST, WYTCHES) to take you on a hard road through the strange fantasy world of Zhal. All men have surrendered their freedom for fear. Now, one last free man must choose.[/su_quote]
I think everyone at one point in their life has heard the dusty old proverb “you can’t judge a book by its cover” (though I’m not sure if that’s true in the world of comics?). You can, however, judge a book by its author, so here is a nickel’s worth of free advice: if said author happens to be Rick Remender, do yourself a favor – buy that book.
This was a fantastic read! RR has proven yet again that he is the undisputed king of comic book science-fiction by delivering a most original, imaginative work that’s sure to be an instant classic. The character development occurs instantaneously and flawlessly. With just the first few panels Remender is able to expertly forge a lasting bond with his reading audience that makes reading Seven to Eternity a totally immersive experience.
If the writing alone weren’t enough (which it is), Seven to Eternity has got to be the most visually stunning, incredibly beautiful, jaw-dropping, eye-achingly gorgeous book of the entire year. Jerome Opeña has literally blown my mind wide-open: his panels boast some of the craziest, most wildly awesome art that I have ever seen – period. Of course, I would be doing an incredible disservice if I made no mention at all of the brilliant mad-colour-scientist, Matt Hollingsworth, whose signature electric pallet is the artistic climax of the entire issue.
I can’t say enough good things about seven to Eternity; it’s Remender, Opeña, and Hollingsworth at their best (Rus Wooton too of course). Enjoy this one, for this is what comic dreams are made of.
As much as I love Rick Remender, this series didn’t grab me as forcefully as, say, Black Science did in its inaugural issue. Part of the problem is that the narration starts to flag in the second half. At the beginning, it deals with relatively familiar issues, like a refusal to compromise with evil or the desire to protect one’s family. Those are all strong emotions to tap into, good for narrative worldbuilding. But the references to lost temples and whatever a Mosak pushes the reader away because we don’t have the context to appreciate them. Adam spends so much time talking about the world, but none of it is really explanatory. What are the different factions? Are the races united, or separated? I finished this and felt really confused.
I will say though that Rick Remender’s worldbuilding pairs beautifully with Jerome Opeña and Matt Hollingsworth’s art. Fantasy series should never be dull to look at, but this is gorgeous to look at by anybody’s standards. Everything has a grungy sort of feel to it, like the beasts in this world are infected with something; it’s apropos in a world where one of the most dangerous beings is known as the “Mud King.” This is not the neat and tidy high fantasy you might see elsewhere; it’s as if a few centuries of pollution ruined Middle Earth.
I don’t doubt that this could be an engaging series in time, but it’s clearly going to take some time. It certainly looks beautiful, but I’m not sure whether the story is going to draw me in. I need to know more about this world, and given that the central tension (will Adam accept the deal) is going to be answered in the second issue, I’m wondering what further hook will sustain this.
Rick Remender has always struck me as an undisciplined writer. His work rambles, rages, and recalibrates, often becoming a mire of overwrought narration, gory violence, and stream of consciousness adventure. While Seven to Eternity avoids the lowest rung of Remender books (Devolution, sigh, Devolution...), it still encapsulates many of his worst qualities with very few redeeming ones. Here his vast fantasy world is lost in the constant babble of exposition and angsty posturing. The world is given a grand total of four pages to be established before things jump right into the epic plot, meaning we have no understanding of the stakes of the world once things get going. The characters are painfully dull, and the story itself feels like every recent Remender book mashed together (guilty fathers, angry children, monstrous monsters, lots of shouting, etc.). It's not good.
And yet, with all this going on, you simply cannot ignore the work of Jerome Opeña who delivers visuals that deserve to be paired with a much better script. For my Money, Opeña's evocative pencils are the best in the business, and a break from the big two allows him to play on a larger canvass. He draws grand vistas, horrifyingly gigantic monsters, and haunting alien cities and somehow retains his talent for subtle, distinctive character work. I don't want to read more Seven to Eternity, but I can't recommend the art enough.
Hi there. If you follow the site or listened to this week's podcast you're probably wondering what the hell I'm doing on a Rick Remender comic review. Possibly because I've never hidden the fact that I've only enjoyed one, maybe a few issues in the entirety of the man's career. I'm not a "Remender Guy" to put it plainly. I found his latest dystopian future setting to wear its influences on its sleeves. That aside though it's okay. It's not without some interesting aspects, but it just so very Remender.
For some, that's a positive but for me, it's like reading the same book over and over again with a different setting. Sure the "We're all fucked" message shifts ever so slightly. You can describe ever series he does the exact same way and yet when you describe them they all kind of feel the same. "What about Deadly Class" some of you are screaming, sure it's not dystopian but it is very Remender. The end all be all is that the story is okay, but I'm so very burnt out on reading anything by Remender. You may not be able to nail his twists and sure his character development will be solid, but at the end of the day, you know the feeling of everything he's going to do. It never feels any different. "We're all fucked" is pretty much the message and I guess I just don't care for that to be the only outlook in his comics anymore.
I cover the art on the podcast pretty thoroughly so if you want to hear why I find Opeña's art style boring, then go listen to the podcast and be outraged alongside Steve. I know plenty of people will like this, but Remender books are like Marvel movies to me; here comes another one, yup, it's another one.
[su_box title="Seven To Eternity #1" style="glass" box_color="#8955ab" radius="6"]
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opeña
Publisher: Image Comics
Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital