An exotic, richly detailed setting and universal themes draw the reader into Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña’s gritty high-fantasy epic.
All the best comics, regardless of genre, essentially serve as an escape vehicle rescuing us from the tedium of our daily lives. This is especially true of books looking to carve out a place in the rapidly dwindling niche of fantasy comics. Recent hits such as Monstress have proven that when done well, fantasy comics can resonate deeply with readers and translate into strong sales for creators and publishers.
In Adam Osidis’ quest to clear his family name and end the rule of the demented Mud King, Remender (Uncanny Avengers, Low) and Opeña (The Avengers) have crafted an engrossing saga upon an ingenious framework of magic and intrigue. Sophisticated yet grounded, Seven to Eternity filters the archetypal fantasy quest through a distinctly American fascination with the untamed frontier and Western notions of free speech and free thought. And yet, thanks to Opeña and colorist Matt Hollingsworth’s gorgeous visuals, the series retains a wonderful European flair that recalls fantasy classics of both prose and comics.
But enough jawin’. It’s time to saddle up and head out on the trail. Here are three reasons you need to read Seven to Eternity by Remender and Opeña.
#1 Immersive Setting
Remender and Opeña reportedly crafted Seven to Eternity over the course of several years and it shows. The book’s gritty, Western-flavoured setting and central conflict are well-thought out and refreshingly original. Right from the first page, Remender immerses his audience in the rich, dynamic world of Zhal, using a prose framing device to set the stage for the epic journey that follows. Adam Osidis’ distinctive voice welcomes the reader into a world of strange totemic magic, harsh frontier living, and oppressive rule.
This is a world where guns and bullets are referred to as “hammers” and “nails”; where a fallen order of knights struggles desperately to overthrow the rule of a wicked king, and where whispers can bring both dreams and nightmares to life. It’s an exceedingly exotic place, made all the more shocking by its familiarity. Think Star Wars meets The Lord of the Rings set in the Old West and you’d have a fair idea of the extensive world-building featured in Seven to Eternity.
#2 Operatic Scope
The epic and the intimate collide in the Osidis clan’s ongoing feud with the Mud King and his army of acolytes. Exiled when family patriarch and legendary Mosak knight Zebediah refused to bend the knee under the Mud King’s rule, the Osidis family have lived in isolation for decades, ostracized by friend and foe alike. However, for better or worse, they are a family destined for a larger role in the world.
Although initially spurred by a deep-felt devotion to his family, Adam Osidis’ journey to meet his father’s nemesis quickly crystalizes into a battle for the future of Zhal – a quest made all the more desperate by his terminal respiratory condition. Nonetheless, it falls to Adam and a small, ragtag group of knights to bring the Mud King to justice, a task of historic importance entrusted to a band of broken misfits.
Tapping into universal themes of family, justice, and redemption, Remender draws the reader ever deeper into the struggle for Zhal’s freedom, as the realm’s future becomes intertwined with Adam’s survival.
#3 Cinematic Visuals
Let it be said here and now that Opeña’s art in Seven to Eternity is some of the best of his career. His use of huge panoramic establishing shots draws the reader into the Land of Zhal with disturbing ease, depicting alien vistas that retain just enough of the familiar to sink the hooks in, before immersing us in a vibrant world of exotic hues and bizarre fauna and flora.
His character designs and set pieces are universally distinctive and recognizable, infused with stunning details that support and reinforce Zhal’s rustic charm and gritty atmosphere. Everything makes sense within the confines of the story’s internal mechanics, evoking a greater sense of realism that makes it all the easier for the reader to buy into its existence. Like all of the great secondary worlds in fantasy fiction, Zhal is a living, breathing character in its own right – thanks in no small part to Opeña’s excellent design work and ability to set the scene just right.
Seven to Eternity is currently ongoing from Image Comics and can be found wherever fine comics are sold.