Image Comics presents a fantasy world filled with war and servitude. The Eternal Empress has been fighting against the countries of Saia for more than a century, and the red-tailed minions have been all too eager to punish those that halt her progress: either by failing to farm the lands or stealing food. The first issue introduces a young woman’s path as she struggles with her meager existence under the Eternal Empress, while strange visions cause her to question the life she’s living, and the glimmering thoughts push her to escape.
Eternal Empire #2 represents a similar story to the first; however, this time it’s a young man who has to deal with the surrounding despair. He and the others attempt to use a pulley system to lift an enormous statue in honor of the Empress. The rope begins to shred apart. The rope snaps, and the giant sculpture crashes to the ground, breaking into pieces. Although our main character and the others weren’t responsible for what happened to the rope, they were punished as if they were – “ten lashes each!”
Sarah Vaughn and Jonathan Luna create this series, so far, without extensive dialogue, yet the message comes across clearly. Those that speak out of turn will get punished. Witnessing the brutality helps to solidify to the reader the duress these people live under. The visuals from Luna highlight grimaced expressions from hard labor and punishments. Subtle beige tones mixed with bright pops of light magnify the harsh surroundings. Is there anything beyond the outstretched desert where it meets the pinkish-blue horizon?
At this point through two comic books, we haven’t seen any of the warring beyond the controlled city limits of the Eternal Empress. This provides the opportunity to wonder, what is happening beyond the walls? A war has been taking place for more than one hundred years, and all of the attention falls squarely on two characters yet to be named. This style from Vaughn and Luna adds an element of mystery, and with our main characters displaying unique abilities that allows them to create fire, it definitely gives us a reason to come back to see what happens in the next chapter of this story. Will both of these characters be able to escape the authoritarianism? Will these new powers help them escape, and will they find out why they have them? Is there a war?
The mystery is set, and our two heroes will soon face danger. What will happen next?
Eternal Empire #2 is now available in print and digital form.