“Where have all the cowboys gone?” – Paula Cole
Call it serendipity if you will, but your friendly neighbourhood yours truly has noticed that we now find ourselves in a time where wild-west flavours and themes are enjoying a resurgence in popularity. Take for instance the show Westworld, the recently announced Red Dead Redemption 2 video game and the new title from Image Comcis, Seven to Eternity. But maybe there isn’t as much happenstance with these motifs after all, especially since the whole wild west American frontier flavour has been a go-to for cinema for decades, and one of the biggest influences on comic books are films and TV shows.
Seven to Eternity isn’t quite the cowboys and injuns story you might expect from a traditional spaghetti Western though. Rick Remender’s story is set on a new frontier, but the sauce is still heavily flavoured by the elements you’d find in a traditional western. Before any images from the story proper are given to us, Remender gives us a page from the diary/journal of our protagonist Adam Osidis. The information he dispenses in the intro is as sparse as restraint on cinco de Mayo, but what we know for sure is that the Osidis clan are a family of exiles who live in the Voltk Mountains, far away from other society. Biblical influence is one of the most prominent elements of Seven to Eternity, as evidenced in the names of the male members of the Osidis clan. Adam has been christened with the name of the first biblical man; Peter was one of Jesus’ closest apostles and the first Roman Catholic pope, while Luke and James were both Gospel writers. Zebadiah doesn’t quite ring any bells, but I’d bet a glass of cold soothing sarsaparilla that it sure as shit is mentioned in the so-called good book somewhere or other. Osidis has to be some kind of corruption of the Egyptian god Osiris, which seems to fit, especially given the fantastical elements of the story and it’s setting. Adam’s wife is named Nival, and she seems to be of a non-white race with seriously recessive genes, which becomes obvious when you look at the ginger kids, especially badass daughter with suburban and safe name ‘Katie.’ What’s my beef with Katie’s being named as such? It just seems a little too out of place, especially when you have a region named Zhal, a steed named Duthra, a race named Mosak and an antagonist named Garils Sulm. Was Remender deliberately injecting elements of the familiar and ‘normal’ for his readership who might erroneously pronounce these words with a little too much Arabian inflection for them to be considered safe? Calm thy proverbial tits! Just because Katie calls Adam “Father” it doesn’t mean she isn’t just adopted, and while I’m making that point, Nival and Adam might just be living in sin and not officially married – who knows how matrimony and relationships are handled in this world. Maybe we’ll find out in the forthcoming issues.
Why did this book receive all the hype that it did when it was launched? Was it because of the prevailing popularity of the western motifs we talked about earlier? Maybe so, but then again, it might also be because of the heavyweight names Remender and the immensely talented Jerome Opeña and Matt Hollingsworth that feature on the creative team. The artwork on these pages is gorgeous, with a number of rewarding details for any post-millennial who zooms in on panels with his iPad. I didn’t fully enjoy the fact that the protagonist sports a highly hipsterised hairdo, but the pros heavily outweigh the cons in the art department, especially the colour palette towards the latter half of the book. That isn’t to say that the book was flawless. Adam, Nival and Zeb seemed pretty unhurried during the lightning storm and were shown glued to the spot despite Zeb’s emboldened text and even an exclamation mark! Adam’s ominous entry into Fengow to meet the Mud King Garils Sulm (please don’t be anything like the Lizard King Jim Morrisson!) was tedious and felt a little unnecessarily drawn out. But then again, this might be exactly why I’m so curious and restless about how the conversation will run when issue 2 comes out.
If I had to predict where this is going, I’d say that the mud king was about to offer adam a cure for his mysterious disease if he sides with his muddy majesty during the upcoming war. Adam will most likely refuse, but in doing so he runs the risk of sending his family to the gallows. I’ll be happy to be proven wrong, and I’ll only really know for sure whether I’m into this book after a couple more issues are out.
Writer – Rick Remender
Artists – Jerome Opeña, Matt Hollingsworth