Despair and the ever-lingering desire of hope surround Eternal Empire #1 from Image Comics. The creative team of Alex + Ada returns again with a new series, generating a sense of pain felt by the characters as they deal with war, famine, and the lack of control one finds when they aren’t serving “their” Empress freely.
Writers Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn, along with artwork by Luna, develop an intriguing storyline with a pace that truly lets you soak in the trance-like effect of a religious cult loomed over with a violent fist. The first chapter of this story follows a worker, “snow hair,” who seems isolated from an already gloomy life, where there aren’t any friends and a good day is when she isn’t beaten. The sense of loneliness is enhanced with the few times she does speak – much like a whisper as she describes visions that suddenly spring to life at any given point during the day.
Luna and Vaughn pull the reader into this story, as hope is the only thing to reach out and cling onto, despite not knowing if being hopeful will have any place in this story. The visions are brief, yet unavoidable to believe it means something more for the main character at a later time. She is garbed in the same attire as the other workers – light brown pants and coat – mixed with unique features: long, white hair and bright blue eyes. Along with a bruised cheek, eventually, this marks another moment of wishing for hope. Is escape a possibility? How can she escape this life?
Luna’s art is vibrant, as vivid colors bounce off the semi-barren landscape. Pale blue skies meet brown farmland, and bluish-purple leaves shoot up from the ground, with pink root vegetables buried underneath until they get pulled by snow hair and the many other workers. The guards, or seemingly second-tier villains, wear two-toned red clothing to match their red skin and red tale. Not only do they assault workers in the field for lack of productivity, and carry out public lashings to those that steal, they do not seem to be too fond of the lead character, and well, bruised cheeks and a cut lip. She, along with the story, continues to move forward, as war remains beyond the limits of this city. The endurance and strength of this character become magnified as the first issue comes to a close, making you realize the chapters ahead will be well worth the wait.
The introduction of this story includes a map of the lands, with names of the cities and surrounding oceans. There’s also some nudity, which explains the “15+ Only” age rating listed on Comixology.
Eternal Empire #1 is now available in print and digital form.