While Tom Taylor has proven himself to be one of the most exciting writers working in comics based on the extensive work he’s been doing at Marvel and DC, he hasn’t done much creator-owned work outside of his native homeland that is Australia. Published by BOOM! Studios, Seven Secrets centers on the young Caspar, newly recruited into the Order of the Seven Secrets that has trusted in Keepers and Holders to guard said secrets in seven briefcases against all harm. However, after the events of the first volume, where the Order is on the brink of extinction whilst their enemies, the Seekers, have apprehended one of the Secrets, is there still hope for Caspar and the rest of the Order?
Before we step back into the main narrative that is the conflict between the Order and the Seekers, issue #7 takes a detour, as Caspar suddenly finds himself in the Faerie realm where he is reunited with the Selkies who raised him when he was a child. Considering the already heightened nature of the world Seven Secrets has established, we are now in the territory of magical fantasy.
Although I do find it a stretch that Caspar wouldn’t remember his literally magical childhood – because I’m sure anyone would remember having one as such – it ultimately doesn’t seem like a big deal because of the way it’s presented through the character. As previously stated, it feels like a detour, even though it opens the door for the world-building to go bigger.
Once we get back into familiar territory, which is Caspar reunited with the team as well as his mother, Eva, it seems like Taylor is back on track. With the reveal of one of the Seven Secrets, which turns out to be a weapon that had enough power to destroy Switzerland, the fractured Order has to decide on their next course of action. Due to the story moving at a quick pace, we never get enough time to know everyone, so when shocking moments do occur, they don’t hit as hard as they should.
We get some real emotion when the comic takes a breather from the action, particularly the unconventional family dynamic between Caspar and Eva. With Eva being voted to lead whatever is left of the Order, she is given more about the Secrets themselves and whatever actions, violent if necessary, can either define her as a leader or as a parent. As much as Caspar is learning more revelations about himself, we get a huge reveal about a traitor among the Order, which was set up in the beginning, and turns about to a strong connection with the villain Amon, who we can finally sympathize into why he would turn against the Order.
You can could argue that Seven Secrets is becoming a case of “style over substance”, but when the style is this good, particularly in the way Daniele Di Nicuolo illustrates action, it’s hard to be too upset. Along with colorist Walter Baiamonte, who puts a lot of emphasis on bright colors, Di Nicuolo continues to create visuals that evoke the kinetic energy that you’d find in manga, whether it is the highly-expressive character designs or the high-octane set-pieces. Taking a magical detour in how he draws the Faerie realm, here’s hoping Di Nicuolo continues to dabble into fantasy creatures and settings.
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