The 7th Sword #1 (IDW)

CREDIT: IDW Publishing / Darby Pop

Rating: 4/5 – An Entertaining Mash-Up of Sci-Fi and Samurai.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

The 7th Sword is a sci-fi story set on an alien world, the Helios Colony.   We’ve got a mixture of high tech gear, current tech, and archaic weaponry that are familiar sci-fi tropes for a story set on a remote colony world.  But that’s the setting, not the story.  What we have here in this 1st issue is classic sci-fi world building and these initial 26 pages set the stage for the series.

Writer John Raffo tackles his first comic book very credibly.  We have a lot of introductory elements but they fall together quite nicely to paint the picture of the world inhabited by samurai mercenary Daniel Cray.  He shows us what Cray can do, ably assisted by the art of Nelson Blake II, instead of telling us about who he is and what he can do.  I have a sense of Cray’s character at the end of this issue and a strong feeling that he is not one who will stand idly by for the events that are likely to unfold as the story progresses, as one would expect from a story that draws from the samurai tropes as heavily as it does from science fiction.  The code of Bushido is going to require Cray to take action.

Nelson Blake does a great job on the art, he has very clean line work and I love the faces of his characters.  He conveys some really nice emotions with an economy of linework that sets him apart from a lot of other artists.  His backgrounds are a bit sparse but his faces, figure work, and body language are top-notch.

Is this the first time we’ve seen a mash-up of these genres?  No, but it’s an entertaining story with an interesting lead character and solid potential for action once the real conflict gets underway in upcoming issues.  The first issue spent a little too long in getting Cray to the point where the real conflict in the story is going to happen, but that’s fairly common for a writer that is new to the episodic comics scene.  This will not be as apparent when this is read as the beginning of the collected edition and the reader can move directly on to the upcoming action without waiting a month.  Other than the pacing problems, it’s a solid story and I’m looking forward to #2.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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