Honor is a tithe paid in blood.
I love westerns. It wasn’t always the case, but after I spent some time driving out west and seeing the land, I found an appreciation of the genre. Rick Remender has a new series that is draped in his sci-fi sensibilities but has the West at its heart, and it perfectly utilizes the slow burn to great effect. In Seven to Eternity, folks who haven’t sold out to the Mud King (equivalent to greedy landowners and bankers, but seemingly with more of the whole “your soul is mine” kind of vibe gong on) have been either subsumed in a great war or pushed to the outer boundaries of the world. One family has stayed out of his reach, but when their patriarch is brought low, they’ll have to decide how they’ll move on, and not everyone can agree how it should be done.
There are a lot of times where genre-blending can be difficult or turn out a wonky kind of story, but Remender holds a tight rein on his plot, allowing it to drive the story more so than its trappings. Sci-fi is man vs. tech, while westerns are man vs. nature, human, and otherwise. This mix fills the empty waste with all manner of horrors to the point of fantasy, but the story remains personal and more in the one-to-one relationships than the spectacle and expanse of the greater war. There’s a great deal of world building going on, and the format allows for it to be done in a frank, yet efficient, manner.
Remender teams up with Jerome Opena for this series, and it’s a very fitting match. Opena manages to capture the signature of Remender’s style while bringing a rustic and worn feeling to the work. Don’t get me wrong, everything is beautifully done and the scenes he brings to life are incredible, but the world looks alive in a way that isn’t the pretty and slick newness, but rather a dinged up, lived-in reality. It captures us because we are new to it, but this is a world that has been touched long before we ventured into it. I love the attention to detail he shows in his technique that sells that feeling; it’s an intense thing to see.
This is a promising start to a series, if you dig your stories at a cowpoke’s pace but love your fantastical creatures and mind-bending technologies. You’ll want to jump on now.
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