Weird. Epic. Conceptual. These are definitely the hallmarks of a Rick Remender comic, who just so happens to have yet another new book released this week by Image. Joined by longtime collaborator Jerome Opena, he looks to be bringing us his most ambitious work to date, a huge, sprawling sci-fi space opera with maybe a few surprises on the way. In this review we take a look whether “Seven to Eternity” will simply be lost and forgotten, or is it destined to become a classic?
Written by Rick Remender
Illustrated by Jerome Opena
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 OPENA (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.
Whenever Rick Remender releases a new book, it is more than certain to that I’m going to be picking up at least the first issue. I have a lot of good faith in Remender since his stellar work on “Uncanny X-Force” a few years ago. And while I feel he does tend to become a little insular over the course of one of his many books (is he writing Deadly Class for anybody but himself nowadays?) you still can’t deny he knows how to write. His scripts are only elevated by the excellent artists he works with, none more so than the talented Jerome Opena, who fans will know as an often collaborator with Remender. Unfortunately, they only tend to work together sporadically and not nearly enough (that can be said for Opena alone). So, we are pretty lucky that Image are publishing their first, creator owned project.
“Seven to Eternity” is a sci-fi epic about a young man who sets out on a mission to murder the evil tyrant ruling his world, though there is much more to it than that. Adam, the young man, is also seeking revenge for the foul slaying of his father and to protect his last remaining family. Every time you think you have this book sussed, Remender takes you in a new direction, constantly adding to the depth of his story. He drops in a backstory about an ongoing war between the evil ‘Mud King’ and the planet’s inhabitants: the Mosak. Then there is the mentions of the strange weapons Adam and his people use. We never see them in use, but we are lead to believe that magic is involved. There are moments where you feel like he could have been clearer on some of the basic plot points for example the Mud King’s place amongst all this and where all the powers come from, but ultimately I think Remender has done well not to overwhelm us. He skilfully and specifically drops them in, in such a way that it all just playfully teases us to want to keep going. Remender as a storyteller really comes into his own here, I found myself intrigued and absorbed from the get go. Furthermore, with Opena’s wide scope for scenery and action, each element is given tons of room to breathe. I would say the whole issue is rich with detail as opposed to being cramped with unnecessary set dressing.
The whole tone to this book is reassuringly familiar, “Seven to Eternity” taps into a lot of the same genres that made the original Star Wars trilogy so successful. There is a grand foundation of Western movies, as we see Adam set off alone on his journey to kill the evil kingpin figure. Superstar colourist Matt Hollingworth adds to this by providing a gorgeous palette of sunset colours, ranging from the obvious reds and oranges to the subtle pinks and purples of dusk. There are lots of epic, immersive science fiction vibes especially in the way that Remender and Opena deliver us a world already formed, with a history and with a well imagined aesthetic. Opena needs special credit for effortlessly merging science and technology with magic and nature. The whole book feels like a wonderful pulp of genres with enough originality that makes it feel fresh.Continued below
My only worry is that the pair obviously have huge ambitions and have set a high standard to keep going at. Normally I find this kind of scale is thrilling and admirable, but with Remender and all his other books I fear he may get distracted. I hope with “Seven to Eternity” he plans to stick to what looks like a clear, linear storyline. As for Opena, it is a case of how much longer is he able to deliver work this good monthly? I know he has worked on monthly shipping books before, but if Remender is planning to go the distance on this one, it’ll be unlike anything he’s worked on before.
Overall, Remender and Opena have delivered a beautiful book that is multi-layered and filled with storytelling. I’m pleased to say it is worth your time and money because so much has been poured into it. It certainly has a lot more places to go however, yes in terms of story, but mostly in changing up the conventions of its genre. I would love to see the female characters get a bigger role, the examples in this issue have not been given a lot to do or have simply been a way to motivate the main character. I’m also looking forward to how Remender deals with his villain, but for a first issue “Seven to Eternity” shows so much promise and potential, I advise you get on now.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – An impressive starter. A potential sci-fi classic in the making.