by James Tynion IV, Jeremy Rock and Nolan Woodard
Out from IDW is the online series, The Eighth Seal. Telling a horrific tale of the country’s First Lady, James Tynion has crafted a terrifying story filled with scenes and sequences that will last long after readers are finished with the issue. The opening chapter provides decent set up to this new world and features strong art from Jeremy Rock and Nolan Woodard.
Beginning online as a Thrillbent series, The Eighth Seal has come to print. The first issue spends very little time easing readers into the universe, as the creators find a much different way to engage their readers. This is the story of Amelia Greene and the internal battle she is finding with a very dark force. As the chapter opens, she speaks to an older male about a recent event and how things got out of control rather quickly. Tynion’s script is strong as he is able to raise suspense and intrigue with a few simple lines that are just a touch vague. The story cuts to a kindergarten classroom, finding Mrs. Greene reading a story. The hooks are in immediately in the opening chapter and the creators use this to their advantage as the chapter progresses forward.
A majority of the rest of the chapter is simply the ensuing events and the reactions of those surrounding the First Lady. Through these sequences, readers are introduced to and led to better understand this world and the characters within it. While the issue’s suspense and action never quite return to the climactic heights of the opening scene, the book manages to keep readers on edge through the use of visual queues as they emulate the inner desires of the story’s lead. In one of the most impactful moments, Amelia cracks a joke to her handler, Brian, just seconds after facing a rather terrifying image. Not only does the scene leave readers unsettled, but it speaks to how long she has been battling and having to suppress whatever it is that plagues her. It is moments like these that hint at the potential for the book going forward. Despite a good portion of this chapter simply showing readers around the world, it does a great job establishing the status quo for the Greene’s and their staff.
The art of the series is subtle and often simplistic, however; this works to the books advantage, allowing the visions Amelia suffers to be all the more traumatic. Rock’s designs and Woodard’s colors imbue a sense of calm and normalcy that help contrast the demonic turmoil just beneath the surface. Still, some of the settings and background characters do feel a bit underdeveloped, lacking a real sense of development or consideration in some moments.
The first issue is a decent one that has a good balance of world building with the more intriguing premise of the story. The Eighth Seal has enough originality and careful construction to be excited for what lies ahead in the series.