Day #2: The Eighth Seal (Comic)

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The Eighth Seal (Chapters 1-7; Ongoing) – Thrillbent

Synopsis:

Despite living a very public life, Amelia is struggling to conceal the horrifying waking dreams that she’s experiencing with increasing frequency.

However, it soon becomes apparent that her dreams might not just be in her own head, but a sign of something much more sinister – and dangerous…

My take:

Written by James Tynion IV and illustrated by Jeremy Rock, The Eighth Seal is proving to be quite an intriguing foray into the space where political life meets the occult. Like me, you might not have realised that this was a space that needed more exploration, but I suspect that you, too, will be pleasantly surprised.

One of my biggest complaints with comics and graphic novels (and I’m sure this will come up in future posts) is the tendency of their writers to be a bit too sloppy with their pacing. Whether it be in their dialogue, or in the overall plotting of the story, there are often moments that feel disjointed enough to bring me out of the story in a “wait, what/how?” moment. So, I’ve been really appreciative of the fact that James Tynion has so far avoided this common foible, delivering a story that has brought me along for the ride, and left me eagerly awaiting what’s to come in the next chapter.

Obviously, this is also thanks in large part to the fantastic work of Jeremy Rock, whose beautiful illustrations manage to combine what I read as the traditional ‘comic book style’ of illustration with the stylised polish of digital art. Which is a long way of saying that The Eighth Seal is pretty, ‘n shit.

One of the benefits of this being an online comic is that it’s given Rock a bit more freedom to play with space than a print comic would have. This means that there’s an almost animated feel to the comic, with a click-through to the next page being almost as likely to change elements within the existing scene, than to bring on a new scene. This isn’t unique to The Eighth Seal, but it’s executed in a way that helps to progress the story, rather than turning itself into a game of Spot the Difference.

With only seven chapters published at the time of this write-up, I should acknowledge that we’re still in the early days yet – and there’s a lot of room for things to go wrong. I think that Tynion and Rock have done an admirable job of bringing most of the characters to life, but the (presumably) bad guys could definitely use a bit more fleshing out in order to justify their actions. There’s a danger that they could just fall into the Big Bad trope – and I do feel like one of the (very few female) characters has already started to do this – which would be pretty disappointing.

Still, like I said, it’s early days yet; and I’m eagerly awaiting what the next chapter of The Eighth Seal has to give us.

My recommendation? You should definitely give it a go, and keep an eye out for future installments.

You can read the first three chapters for free on the Thrillbent website (links are at the top of this post).

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