Seven Secrets is a new series from BOOM! Studios that has been hyped, teased, and covered here at the site. I interviewed series creators Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo just a few days ago on the AIPT Comics podcast. Having already read and digested the first issue before speaking with the creators, I can tell you this book is masterful at a few different things, from its action scenes to its ability to make the characters feel genuine within a matter of pages.
Seven Secrets opens on a war field, showing dead soldiers on one side with guns by their side and on the other swords. We soon push into the compound the good guys were defending to find someone opening a box and light exploding from it. It appears the bad guys have won. Cut to three months earlier, and we’re introduced to Sigurd and Eva, who are fleeing a scene with a briefcase, not unlike the one we just saw, only it has a different symbol on it. Layered into this are captions spoken from someone in the future connected to these characters. It all melds together into an exciting opening filled with action, danger, and characters that instantly become familiar.
Nicuolo is taking action to new places in this book. It’s fast-paced and moves like scenes you’ve seen in your favorite anime, with speed lines and a sense of kinetic energy seen throughout a panel. Take, for instance, a panel with Eva fleeing a scene with a motorcycle. As she takes a turn on the London streets, the tilting of the bike suggests speed, bystanders are hopping back from where she just zipped by, and there’s an added sense of movement thanks to a curved white dash on the street and shading under the bike. And that’s just one panel. When characters are moving, you feel it. The overall style reminds me of European action films like District 13 or La Femme Nikita. There’s a sense of urgency on the page that’s unmistakable.
The relationship between Eva and Sigurd is an incredibly important aspect of this series, and it goes off without a hitch. I honestly felt for them, their difficult position, and their relationship almost instantly. It’s in the dialogue by Taylor, the body language, or the blocking of the characters on the page that help convey their dynamic. Other characters and their relationship to this couple also feel enhanced and genuine shockingly fast.
Colors by Walter Baiamonte add a cartoonish layer to the work that goes well with Nicuolo’s style. There’s a manga/anime feel to much of this work, and the colors support that while not letting it get too cartoony. Each scene feels distinct from one another thanks to the atmosphere Baiamonte is adding, too.
The speed of the book does hamper it a bit, especially in the opening. I honestly read this quickly once, again a bit more closely, and didn’t quite gather every detail you were supposed to have. Maybe that’s a plus for some — there’s a benefit to complex things that are woven in but not obvious which rewards multiple reads, but it wasn’t immediately apparent. This made me realize some things could easily be skipped over or missed that end up being very important later. I ended up being more interested in the characters than the bigger plot and mysteries of the organization, in part because it zips by these scenes so fast. However, this is something I’m sure will be rectified as the book continues to reveal its secrets.
I had a blast with the first issue of Seven Secrets as it’s economical in its delivery of story, character, and action, all of which come at whiplash speed. This book is slick and should be handled with gloves so it doesn’t burn you with its awesomeness.