Image Comics reports that, in order to keep up with overwhelming customer demand, it is sending SEVEN TO ETERNITY #1, written by Rick Remender, drawn by Jerome Opeña, and colored by Matt Hollingsworth, back for a second printing on the same day as the issue’s release. And that makes total sense. This is the just the sort of quirky, weird, action-packed comic that will excite many readers. This is the tale of Adam Osidis, one reluctant hero confronting, The Mud King, one scary evil ruler. Both characters are up for a fight–or perhaps a discreet understanding of some sort.
Welcome to the kingdom of Zhal, ruled by The Mud King, officially known as The God of Whispers. How this works is left sort of mysterious. Part of it has to do with The Mud King having cast a spell on all of the kingdom’s inhabitants. Much weighs upon whether or not someone will take up The Mud King’s offer, whatever that may be. Under no circumstances would Adam’s father bend his knee and accept any offer from The Mud King. That did not work out so well for Zebadiah Osidis. There is a whole village in exile hiding in the mountains because of Zebadiah Osidis’s defiance. So, maybe Adam can figure something out.
This is definitely one of those big deal titles right up there with the likes of Jonathan Hickman’s celebrated Image Comics series, EAST OF WEST. This new breakout hit reunites the creative team behind Uncanny X-Force. You have all the depth and texture of a story you can really sink your teeth into. There is so much referred to and implied here to keep a series roaring for years. That said, we have a steady and compelling narrative unfolding. We’re in good hands with Adam, our reluctant yet cunning young hero.
SEVEN TO ETERNITY #1 is available as of September 21st. For more details, visit Image Comics right here.
We want our comics to sing. “East of West” sings to us. With this latest issue, wrapping up content for the first trade paperback, we get a greater sense of what lies ahead. The pace mellows out a bit so that we can better understand the chemistry between Death and Xiaolian. That helps us to see how the pieces to this story may fall into place and everything, including the title of the comic gains greater significance. It’s an essential issue in what is certainly adding up to be an essential comic.
Jonathan Hickman and Nick Dragotta are in this to win. We’ve been given a lot to work with in terms of background and plot which is hardly a bad thing. The more the better. You know why? Because what is of highest priority for the story will rise and what is secondary or tertiary will fall where it needs to go. Those are the building blocks to solid storytelling. Given ample room to work and the right circumstances, a writer of the caliber of Mr. Hickman is going to do right by you. Add to that what an artist of the level of Mr. Dragotta is bringing to this, and you’ve got it made. What’s happening now in this issue is laying down one last big slab of foundation to keep you going for a long time to come. If you wondered what exactly Death and Xiaolian were about, this issue clears that up nicely.
You also get a better look at the world-at-large in this story: What’s at stake? Who or what is going to gain or lose if this or that happens? You get some interesting exchanges between other players in this game. It feels like a beautiful elaborate fable that’s unfolding. The world hangs in the balance, right? Love. War. Death. Yes, it can seem like an overwhelming concoction. You have Death on his mission guided by The Message. You have the other Horsemen of the Apocalypse in pursuit of Death. You have The Chosen plotting the course of world events. But the story is agile and can easily go from macro to micro, from world events to detailed interaction between characters.
If you take a look at the other celebrated Hickman title at Image Comics, “Manhattan Projects,” with artist Nick Pitarra, that gives you some sense of how “East of West” will shape up. That comic is also deep in the throes of possible world annihilation. It’s had some time to settle in and yet it continues to tease out new scenarios.
For now, we know that Death is sweet on Xiaolian. And we learn how it is that Xiaolian can even come close to taking on Death on a equal footing. We don’t know yet why Death comes across as a lonesome ole Texan but we’re sure to find out.
“East of West #5” is available as of August 14. Visit our friends at Image Comics.
“East of West” is the favorite, no doubt. We’re at Issue 4, and each one has sold out. Image Comics has a winner on its hands, wouldn’t you say? With the narrative at a nonstop pace and Issue 5 rounding out the first arc leading to the first trade, we are sure to see a rush for the next issue as well.
At Number 4, “East of West” continues to unveil an impressive narrative. I think I’m in love. This is such a cool comic. Don’t you love it? Of course, you do!
It is interesting how Jonathan Hickman has set up all these possibilities with a multi-layered plot but we can still cut to what matters most: Boy meets girl; Boy loses girl; Boy reunites with girl. In this case, the boy in question is Death and the girl in question is one really badass chick with a hell of a lot going on.
This issue is utterly beautiful in how it is choreographed. It’s really like a dance, a dance with Death brought to you in energetic artwork by Nick Dragotta and vivid color by Frank Martin. There isn’t a misspent panel to be found anywhere. It’s some fight to the death with Death! As you may recall from our last issue, Death was on his way to pay a visit to the current head of the House of Mao. So, yeah, prepare for some epic battle scenes. But, as you may also recall, Death has a plan so it’s not all about blood and guts. There’s definitely a plan.
After another read of this issue, and it lends itself well to rereading, I’m struck by its bold beauty. Hickman raises the stakes high and then goes higher. He sets up an elaborate design and then dares it all to come shattering down. He creates all this danger and mayhem and tosses in some characters to care about, maybe even worry about. There are a lot of clues here that tell you this story is full of purpose and won’t relent. There’s an urgency about it and you feel those stakes raising higher and higher. It’s all about the girl. Xialian. She’s the one who has, so far, put Death in his place.
“East of West #4” is available as of today. And #5 will be out July 31. Visit our friends at Image Comics here.
Jonathan Hickman has a need to juggle many balls in the air. It is a dazzling thing to behold going back to “Transhumans,” “S.H.I.E.L.D.,” as far as it got, “The Manhattan Projects” and, of course, his run on “Fantastic Four” at Marvel Comics. With “East of West,” for Image Comics, he unites with his “FF” artist, Nick Dragotta, and gives us quite a show.
So far in the story, we are in for a dystopian treat with an alternate America cut up like a wedding cake. One big hunk goes to Texas, just because. The North and South get their shares, this being the only way to resolve the Civil War. The cajuns get a bigger slice than they already had. The Indian Nations get a piece big enough to settle many scores. The Chinese end up with a big hunk. And there’s a spot in the epicenter, perhaps a demilitarized zone. Well, that’s where the comet crashed, right in the middle of the North American continent during the American Civil War, but more on that later.
This scenario alone would be plenty to work with for any story. But, no, Hickman throws in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse! Now we’re cookin’! They’re really what “East of West” is about after all. Nothing is going to result in a world, as we know it, in this story and that could be a good thing–but probably not. Getting back to that comet. It was pretty hefty. It was such a game changer it ended the Civil War and brought about the creation of the Seven Nations of America. Will we learn more about this comet? Is there more to this–like more of Earth beyond this new America? Hmm, lots of balls in the air which is good insofar as adding texture and probably a whole lot more. So, yeah, whether Hickman ever gets back to explaining any of this comet blast stuff or not, that’s our starting point and then we fast forward the clock to the year 2064 and we see that, while peace may have broken out after the comet blast, it has eroded back to civil war. Conquest, War, and Famine have returned in the form of children and with a no-show, Death. The Three Horsemen, as it were, are ready to bring on the Apocalypse but where’s Death?
Through the years, legend has spread about an answer to the world’s ills in the form of The Message. Those who have read it, know what to do. Death has read The Message and appears to be on a killing spree involving The Chosen and world leaders. Death begins by making short work of the President of the North. He keeps killing down the chain of command until he settles on the Secretary of the Interior. This choice fits in with his plans which turn out to be more than mere killing. He’s setting up a whole new world leadership. However, Conquest, War, and Famine have other plans, like finding Death, for starters. Maybe his “wife” can help? That’s where we come in with this third issue.
While Hickman follows comic book tropes pretty faithfully, as in ending with a surprise, his surprises are all the more surprising, you know, given his skill to spin a tale. For Issue Three, he has us get to know this mystery woman in Death’s life. Could she really be his wife? We learn that she’s the daughter of the Chinese leader and that would put her father right in Death’s crosshairs. Of course, Death don’t need no stinkin’ crosshairs, but you know what I mean. Anyway, this issue is another killer in visuals. Nick Dragotta does a beautiful job of brining to life the mystery lady. Lush color by Frank Martin. And spot on lettering by Rus Wooton, too. All shout outs here essential.
The woman in question is young and brash, excels at martial arts, is something of a mystic, enjoys walks on the beach, and wishes to be left the hell alone. Her name is Xiaolian. Can you see Death dating her? One thing is for sure, Death, like taxes, is a certain thing. Death means business and it doesn’t look like an intriguing young woman is going to hold much, if any, sway in his decision-making. However, and there are always “howevers” to deal with, maybe love will find a way. As kooky as it sounds, yeah, maybe love will find a way. That’s what Death’s entourage, made up of two ethereal and spooky characters, known as Crow and Wolf, think. Yeah, Crow and Wolf believe in love! It’s a testament to confident storytelling to take this detour, by gum! And, we all know there’s more going on.
Some comic books are just barely holding up a plot while others stand out as something special. “East of West” aspires to be the next big thing and so far so good. The story has plenty of leg room and could go in all sorts of directions. There’s a lot of thought put into this and could easily be developed into a prose book or series of books. Of course, comic book investors hope to see this become the next “Walking Dead.” For now, appreciate the comic because the comic alone could indeed keep growing and exceed anyone’s wildest dreams.
“East of West #3” is currently available and Issue Four is on sale as of July 10. Visit our friends at Image Comics.