Rick Remender and Jerome Opena‘s new series, Seven to Eternity, feels like an old pulp sci-fi tale. It’s insanely huge: the pages of the comic barely able to contain the concept, words, and vibrant art. There are elements of westerns, high fantasy, and Lovecraftian wiggling coursing throughout the pages. It’s massive, but this skilled and perfectly paired creative team makes the whole thing feel intimate and character driven. It’s damn fine comic booking and clearly the start of something special.
The world of Seven to Eternity that is revealed to us in this first issue is incredibly dense and layered. It could easily be the sort of world that hosts some grand, operatic science fiction, but Remender and Opena start things off humbly. It’s about a family, living off the grid on a small farm, but—of course—there’s also a war going on somewhere out there and there’s a guy they call the Mud King. As you could probably guess, things go south quickly and this quiet existence is shattered in the first few pages. Still, even as things go crazy, Remender keeps the center on the family. It grounds the book and keeps you deeply, deeply invested in these characters.
Fans of Rick Remender will recognize many of his go usual themes in this first issue: The failure of fathers, self-sacrifice, and the embracing darkness for (what appears to be) an honorable reason. The comic my be high-concept stuff, but there’s still a humanity to these pages. Remender isn’t just throwing out the craziest ideas he can come up with (okay, maybe he is, but that’s not the point). The story of regret, family, and sacrifice that fills these pages is what will make you come back for issue #2. Sure, the weird flute-playing demon who summons dogs made of mud is awesome, but that’s just the icing on a rich and fluffy cake.
Even if we wrote tow thousand words about the awesomeness of Jerome Opena, it wouldn’t be enough. His work at Marvel felt like a high-water mark—surely it couldn’t get any better than that, right? Seven to Eternity #1 blows away everything the man has previously done. It’s amazing. Every page, every panel—Opena’s level of detail is unparalleled. Nobody else packs that much on to a page. This is him unleashed, drawing the biggest, craziest stuff you can think of and drawing it better than you could imagine. His storytelling brilliant, his line work the best. This is like reading a comic that sprung forth from an ancient deity, something mystical and spiritual beyond that of common man.
If Remender and Opena were the only two people knocking it out of the park on this comic, it’d still be a massive win. Fortunately, they aren’t. Matt Hollingworth’s color art is brilliant. He makes the small, farmland life still teem and glow with science fiction goodness. He causes a sunset to drench the horrific landscape in a stunning palette of warm. It’s beautiful and lifts the comic to a whole other level. Same goes for the lettering of Rus Wooton. Wooton is a long time collaborator of Remender’s and, for my money, he’s the best letterer in the biz. Pages flow because of Wooton. The reading experience is what it is because of his deft hand and smooth transitions.
Seven to Eternity #1 is divine. It’s an incredible debut issue that will suck you in, chew you up, and spit you out (and you’ll love every second of it). Add this one to your pull list, you won’t want to miss a single issue. Hell, if I missed a single panel of this comic I’d be kicking myself. It’s too damn good to ignore.
5 out of 5 Burritos. Make that 6 out of 5. It’s that good.
Image: Image Comics
Benjamin Bailey writes for the Nerdist and can be found on Twitter talking about Godzilla, comic books, and hardcore music.