Issue #5 of Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña’s Seven to Eternity would be a prime opportunity for the creators to slow down the story. With the heroes on a road trip, there is no need to rush. It’s about the journey, not the destination, right? Refreshingly, Remender and Opeña disagree. They keep the story moving, stopping for the important parts and leaving the readers with a very ominous hook at the end.
Seven to Eternity #5 (Image Comics)
This issue picks up shortly after issue #4 left off, with Adam Osidis and the Mosak Knights transporting Garils Sulm across Zhal to a wizard who can help free the people under Sulm’s control. They’ve been traveling incognito as a traveling circus, but along the way, one of Sulm’s lieutenants catches on. After a brief reality-bending battle and a quick-cut, the book ends with our heroes at a literal crossroads only days from their destination.
Remender takes the relative downtime on the road to build the team dynamic. The knights discuss Adam and his doctrine, his heavy responsibility, and his motivations. It is a really a great exploration of Adam, and more importantly, it helps flesh out his relationships, even an antagonistic one, with his comrades. Remender’s ability to deliver satisfying character-driven action shouldn’t be taken for granted either. The fight with Sulm’s lieutenant, which is over relatively quick, subtly, organically changes the team dynamic and throws Adam even more off-kilter. It is really exciting to see Remender masterfully build a complex, conflicted, honorable character based on actions and relationships rather than words.
On the art front, Opeña continues to kill it. His pencils are still incredibly detailed and his designs are fantastical and awesome. The opening page of the circus disguise is bright and colorful, exactly how a traveling circus should look like. Then on the next page, the reality is much duller. I really liked that contrast. The reality-warping fight scene is trippy and colorful and kind of disorienting, which is perfect for the enemy the knights fight. The last page spread, of the heroes venturing into even more danger, is suitably dark and ominous. I’m really glad this book has a longer release schedule, I’d happily give Opeña all the time he needs to render these awesome panels and spreads.
Seven to Eternity continues to be a winning, character-focused story. It says something about the skill of the creators when the most intriguing part about a story isn’t a fight scene, but the characters. Based on most of the other comics on the shelves, what Remender and Opeña are pulling off is harder than it looks.