by Rick Remender, Jerome Opena & Matt Hollingsworth
Can the candid words of a tyrant be trusted? Can the intentions of a dying man be selfless? These are just a few of the questions posed in this week’s issue of Seven To Eternity. In this series, Remender has consistently tiptoed the line of compromising his character’s integrity. In issue #9 the characters are no longer tiptoeing that line, they are straight up straddling it. But wait, there is more! Not only do we reach a new high point in Adam’s morally ambiguous journey, but with Jerome Opena back on the book teamed up with colorist Matt Hollingsworth, we get some absolutely incredible fantasy action pages that rival any big budget film. My phone screen saver used to be a picture of Pennywise, now it is a picture of spirit Zeb plunging his dual wielding lightning swords into the belly of the Black Well. I believe a fist pumping “F**k yeah!” is required at this time.
One of comics great modern duo’s returns with their fist creator owned work in years for Rick Remender & Jerome Opena on Seven to Eternity #1. The debut issue of the series is a whirlwind of imagination and intrigue anchored by Opena’s stunning illustration. The series introduction shows how much the two have grown since they last worked together on creator owned material along with how they elevate one another.
Seven To Eternity is a sweeping fantasy epic set in a separate world that is Moebius level detailed and ingenious. The story centers on a family that’s disassociated themselves from a society at war that is forced to reckon with it’s choices as the violence of the outside world crashes into their self imposed isolation. As can be observed across his Image titles, writer Rick Remender is a master of imagination and world building and no artist can render that vision better the Jerome Opena.
Opena’s artwork is sprawling and intricate in it’s details with his sharp yet ethereal line work to render the fantastical real without ever falling to uncanny valley syndrome. It is equal parts exquisite and awe inspiring for it’s flawlessly imaginative visual story telling. Colorist Matt Hollingsworth palate is similar to his electrifying work on Remender’s Tokyo Ghost for it’s bright contrast in shading. Meanwhile, writer Rick Remender shows a level of restraint in his writing that’s been sorely lacking from his other work as of late and it makes all the difference in elevating the title’s excellence. While he’s still relying on first person narration here, it’s more concise and far less moody. Whether intentional or not, Seven To Eternity feel’s like a comic about real mature adult’s (at least in the initial cast we’re introduced to) and the character’s are far more endearing because of that. There is still trace’s of angsty Remender here, but it’s much more subtle then what he’s done in his most recent work by making the malaise into moments as opposed to monolouges. This also leaves a lot for the reader to discover, making the writing all the more engrossing. Moreover, by tempering his character voice, Remender can focus on his greatest strength of world building where even by the creators own lofty standards, Seven To Eternity is incredibly expansive and rich.
Seven To Eternity #1 is a resounding success by any measure and is up there with Black Monday Murders & Kill or Be Killed in terms of 2016 Image debut’s, already a banner year for the publisher in that regard. Forget any pre-conceived notion you may have based on Remender’s most recent work and realize that anything by Opena is a must buy regardless of who’s writing it. Read this comic once and you’ll never want to stop.