COMIC BOOK REVIEW: 7TH SWORD / AUTHOR: JOHN RAFFO / ARTIST: NUR IMAN, NELSON BLAKE II / PUBLISHER: IDW / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
7th Sword is a nominally futuristic take on a fairly standard samurai story. It’s the story of Daniel Cray, a mercenary who has been trained as one of Earth’s elite. He stumbles across the legendary city on ZenZion, a peaceful outpost renowned for its beauty and serenity. Of course, bandits are approaching and Cray has to train the locals to defend themselves.
In many ways, the sci-fi element of this tale is irrelevant. The special ‘Malathane’ swords the heroes wield are basically an excuse to put in the legendary version of katana without having to worry about real-world limitations or pedantry. The place the lone samurai comes from may as well be a faraway city rather than another planet, and even the robots, clones and other hazards are superficial at best.
At its heart, 7th Sword is a B-movie martial arts-style story. The plot is quite thin and the characters are made out of cobbled-together clichés. The story goes in a straight line; hero turns up, city is in trouble, hero trains some villagers, hero does hero things. You will be able to guess the ending from about page 3.Much of 7th Sword feels like a pitch for an ‘80s action movie. Sadly it lacks the self-awareness to be funny (like, say, Sexcastle) nor does it have sufficient weirdness to distract from the rather pedestrian plot.
The artwork is also nothing special. It’s not bad or good, but it also fails to evoke anything; not action movies, not sci-fi, not even martial arts. The art does the job it’s meant to and not much else. 7th Sword is a reasonable waste of time for those of us who like their samurai stories to have robots in them, but is hardly ground-breaking or special. If you need to waste some time, there are better comic books out there.
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