A Legacy of Nightmares Unfolds in Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña's Seven to Eternity

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A Legacy of Nightmares Unfolds in Rick Remender & Jerome Opeña's <i>Seven to Eternity</i>

Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Jerome Opeña
Colorist: Matt Hollingsworth
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: September 21, 2016

SevenToEternity.jpg The world of Rick Remender and Jerome Opeña’s Seven to Eternity is a sprawling and surreal one, where fantastical creatures coexist with realistic familial dynamics, long historical legacies weigh heavily on characters’ minds and sinister rulers hold sway over the land. But, as with many Remender projects, readers will find both an enthusiastic embrace of genre storytelling (in this case, a gritty yet expansive fantasy) and a subtle deconstruction of the same. All of this leads to a thrilling narrative coupled with a few quiet notes that suggest more going on in this debut issue than initially meets the eye.

This first issue opens with a page from the journal of protagonist Adam Osidis as he looks back on his past and his family’s history from a point in the future. The scene also describes the basic conflict: a despot known alternately as the God of Whispers and the Mud King rules through manipulation and blackmail, and Adam’s father chose to live in isolation rather than serve him many years before. From this narration, it’s clear that death is coming to many of the characters just introduced.

Seven to Eternity #1 Interior Art by Jerome Opeña & Matt Hollingsworth

Soon, tragedy strikes, and Adam makes a journey alone to confront the series’ villain in a distant city. The reaction to his arrival suggests that his father’s actions are viewed more warily by the general population than by his own family, leaving open the intriguing question of whether Adam is an entirely reliable narrator. And by the end of the issue, it seems clear that this story of familial bonds, history and revenge may unfold in a very different way than it first appears.

Seven to Eternity #1 Interior Art by Jerome Opeña & Matt Hollingsworth

The art impressively captures a sense of the uncanny. Opeña creates a clear divide between the human and inhuman, and the designs for the latter are appropriately alien—these aren’t just humans with one or two aspects lightly tweaked. As befits a story driven by action, Opeña keeps things kinetic. A scene in which the earth transforms at a villain’s command feels appropriately tactile, and hits on a gut level. Hollingsworth’s colors lend this world depth, but also work on a more subtle level— the glowing eyes of carnal creatures created from the earth match spots of color on the being summoning them, for instance. One splash page shows Adam looking out at the entrance to a massive city, and the full scope of how strange and monumental this world is truly impressive.

Seven to Eternity #1 Interior Art by Jerome Opeña & Matt Hollingsworth

Remender is playing the long game here. Connections between the characters are introduced quickly and efficiently, but he also hints at greater depths to be explored in the future. Additionally, Adam’s journey and the people and places that he encounters suggest that there’s much more of his own past to be revealed as well. For now, Seven to Eternity has a compelling opening, a vivid (and vividly rendered) setting and a quietly mysterious central character—all of which make for a terrific narrative hook.