Review: 7th Sword #1
Daniel Cray—a samurai mercenary—stumbles upon the legendary city of ZenZion, a mysterious desert outpost under siege from a vicious warlord. The peace-loving citizenry beg Cray to defend them… forcing Cray to reluctantly draw his deadly “Malathane” sword one last time to battle a relentless army of robots and their savage masters. Science Fiction meets Samurai in an epic new adventure from John Raffo (Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story).
A new series from Darby Pop and IDW kicks off this week in the pages of The 7th Sword #1. The story is written by John Raffo with pencils and inks by Nelson Black II. Dave McCaig handles colors with Troy Peteri providing lettering. So how does the new book measure up to Darby Pop’s previous series?
Daniel Cray is a sword for hire. He’s currently riding security for tankers crossing the western sands carrying gas. The group is attacked by Miner-Matics, androids built to work deep in the mines that can smell gas. The group is injured and Daniel wakes up to find himself in ZenZion, a mysterious land that he thought was just a myth. It turns out the city is real and they are in trouble. The evil warlord Kavanaugh is wanting to take over, and there’s really no one in ZenZion that can stand in his way. Daniel has a sword, the deadly Malathane, and a shady past. He might just be what the city needs even if they don’t want him. What is the real story behind Daniel Cray? What is Kavanaugh’s real goals? Will ZenZion realize Daniel may be the only hope they have at staying free and alive?
Raffo writes a compelling story. The story feels familiar, seemingly pulling inspiration from things like Mad Max and Samurai stories, but Raffo gives it a new enough twist with his more sci-fi take to make it feel original. The story doesn’t quite delve into cliché, but it does feel somewhat predictable for the most part. Raffo may just be playing into those tropes to lull readers into a sense of familiarity before pulling the rug out from under them. The ending starts to make you think that’s the case. Black’s pencils and inks are very sharp and clean. The linework is solid and the characters are all unique. Daniel Cray looks like an outsider and an imposing figure. You can definitely tell what kind of man he is just by looking at him. McCaig’s colors are very bright, vibrant, and smooth. The character work and coloring on the odd little creatures really draws your attention to each panel.
Bottom Line: The 7th Sword doesn’t quite deliver a knockout punch, but it’s a story with a lot of promise that guarantees you’ll come back to see what happens next. If Raffo can throw in a twist to break itself out of a mold established by others, this could be something really special. 3/5
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