Comic Review: The 7th Sword #1
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The 7th Sword #1
Created and Written by John Raffo
Pencils and Inks by Nelson Blake II
Colors by Dave McCaig
Letters by Troy Peteri
IDW Publishing
Release Date: April 23, 2014
Cover Price: $3.99

What do you get when you cross a samurai with a planet that is constantly in the midst of civil war? Why, you get The 7th Sword #1, of course! On what appears to be a world somewhat akin to Dune, we have a warrior (now ronin) who was left behind with not much more than his sword and his wits. This is the first of seven issues that account for the actions of Daniel Cray and his deadly sword called a Malathane.

Having been left behind on Helios when the army with which he was serving retreated, Cray found himself doing odd mercenary jobs for survival. After an accident left him stranded and lost, he was rescued by a group living in the mythical ZenZion who think him the enemy. After the true villains attack, he finds himself defending this oasis…all the while still suspect. There’s a lot more to the story but suffice to say you’ll need to read it to stay on top of everything that’s going on here. This first issue is setting up the rest of the miniseries so it feels incomplete on many levels, but that’s to be expected, I suppose.

In his debut to comic books, John Raffo brings us a rather unique view of this story. The flow of information, and even the plot itself, seems unlike most comics in that some of the dialogue feels forced. I don’t mean interpersonal conversation, but rather the way some of the background data is given to the reader. I feel it is almost like there should have been some voice over work in a movie telling us the back story rather than characters forcing the information into their speeches. Now, I don’t mean it is bad…just a bit different.

The artwork from Nelson Blake II is serviceable and backs the story up very well, though must admit this isn’t my favorite work from him. It’s good, but I’ve seen him produce great art in past.

Being a fan of both the writer (his films, specifically) and the artist, I’m still kind of hedging on this one. I like the concept but I haven’t quite figured out if I love the comic or not. My best assessment is that if you like science fiction comics, you’ll probably dig this one, too. I know the team wants to give off that whole samurai/Bushido vibe but it’s just not coming through in this premier issue. I’ll probably read another one before I make up my mind, so maybe that’s the route you should take, as well.

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