Created By: Tom Taylor & Daniele di Nicuolo
Written By: Tom Taylor
Illustrated By: Daniele di Nicuolo
Colors By: Walter Baiamonte (assisted by Katia Ranalli)
Letters By: Ed Dukeshire
Publisher: Boom! Studios
Available: August 12 via your Beloved LCS, Amazon, comiXology and Boom! Studios
Out this Wednesday (August 12) from Boom! Studios is the premier of another in their long line of awesome action titles, the creator-owned Seven Secrets. The child of Tom Taylor (DCeased, X-Men: Red) and Daniele di Nicuolo (Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers), Secrets centers itself around seven mysterious—ok, well, secret—words/symbols/sigils: wonders, weapons and worse of potentially world-ending power, and The Order of the Seven, the ancient order sworn to prevent them falling into the wrong hands.
In issue one, we meet Sigurd and Eva, Keeper and Holder of one such Secret, in action against an invading force led by Amon, one of a long history of Secret-seekers. One who’s particularly good at hunting the Secrets down, ‘cause as our camera resolves from a brief intro by the narrator, he’s already invading The Order’s headquarters, creating all kinds of nefarious ruckus.
And as Eva speeds off and Sigurd forestalls the chase, we flashback to…some stuff. Stuff about Sigurd and Eva’s past. And about our narrator who (spoiler alert!) we don’t actually meet in this book, but who is clearly the central figure in the story. Secret stuff. At least, a secret I’m going to keep from you, so you’ll buy the goldang book yourself, instead of getting all the answers here at the ‘Box.
Seven Secrets is, in case you missed it, all about secrets. Layers and layers of secrets. The seven Secrets, with their power to destroy the earth. The secret Order that operates in secret, protecting them and keeping them, well, secret. The secrets of forbidden love. Of family. Of one’s passions and values, kept secret even from those we love. Secrets kept from the world, from one another. From self.
The book’s sorta like a really, really big onion, what with the peeling the layers back, only without the crying.
Well…ok, there’s a little crying.
But heaps and heaps of action and intrigue, too.
Despite giving us just a glimpse in issue one, Tom Taylor’s got a whopper of a tale to tell in Seven, and he’s set up a heckuva framework to tell it in. The eponymous Secrets, while at the center of the story, serve as a device to draw us in to the more meaningful secrets surrounding the host of characters and agencies. Accentuating that motif is his structure of multiplying flashbacks, each providing glimpses into the history of both the Seven Secrets mythology and the chronicle of our narrator, who looks to be the central figure of the book moving forward. If you’ve seen Memento, it’s a similar and very effective construct (and if you haven’t, get thee to thine movie streamer and watch it!).
Thankfully, Taylor’s a masterful enough writer to keep it all from getting too muddled. In his 24 pages (MAN does that seem like a small number, for all that happens in the book!), we get the flavor of the Seven’s current and past mythology, The Order’s structure, its key players and antagonists, and some insight into the motivations and personalities of our key dramatis personae. And all without confusing the reader or bogging down into endless narration. An impressive feat given the book’s scope, and the world he’s created is exciting from the word go.
Of course, said world falls flat without an artist who can pull it all off and make it visually appealing, let alone sensical. Daniele di Nicuolo’s manga-influenced style is a perfect fit for the constant, frenetic action throughout issue one. I’ll cop to not being a huge manga fan myself—respect it as an art form, but just isn’t my style. I have no such issue with di Nicuolo’s lines and facial structures, though. He captures intense action, including both the bombastic combat and manic chase, with a kinetic flair—but is subtle enough with his facial expressions to suggest just the right emotional color for each scene, especially a particularly gut-wrenching one late in the book.
And speaking of color, Walter Baiamante (with an assist from Karia Ranalli) gives di Nicuolo’s lines all the drama and heat they need, be they the deep, shadowy incursion of Amon, Eva’s frantic escape or Sigur and Eva’s trial before the Order Council (told you, there’s a lot to take in in this one!). And with all the action, Dukeshire gets to play with the lettering to an exciting extent, matching effects to letters to art throughout, always accentuating rather than overwhelming the imagery.
Intense action, a well-fleshed, intriguing world, engaging characters and a mystery narrator you can’t help but like right from page one. All in all, an exhilarating intro, with undeniable promise for more. I seriously can’t wait for issue two.
…and apparently, the comic world agrees: Bleeding Cool announced recently that the first printing of issue one already sold out—a full week before its sale date. (Sorry, what were you saying, all you comic doomsayers?!?) So, get yourself down to your LCS and get this one on your pull order quick—you won’t be disappointed!
(Oh, and we’ll go ahead and keep that crying part, uh, secret, ‘k?)
Score: 12.5 (of 13)
Review by Andy Patch