So, I 100% promise you that this is indeed a review of the great new comic Seven Secrets by Tom Taylor, but in my typical fashion, I’m going to be taking a bit of a roundabout approach to talking about the book. I promise I’ll get to the point soon, and if you’d rather skip to that just look for the italics 😉
I wanted to take a brief moment to talk about the big comic news of the week, which is of course what is being called the second DC implosion. In one fell swoop, it appears that AT&T/ Time Warner has gutted DC’s leadership, signalling the end of numerous lines including Black Label, and potentially killing off more titles than they already have (and seriously they have been dropping titles left and right. I personally have had Supergirl, Lucifer, Batgirl, Books of Magic, Shazam, and Harley Quinn all cancelled, and other series like The Terrifics, Batman and the Outsiders, as well as a ton of reprints and facsimiles, have also been dropped). It’s a rough time over there at the Distinguished Competition, and the entire industry is feeling the pain.
In addition to these cancellations, there is also word that many writers that are currently under exclusive contracts, such as Tom King and Brian Michael Bendis might have those contracts renegotiated, meaning they would be free to pursue other works. Regardless of how you feel about both writer’s work, losing them signals another major shift in what DC has planned for the future, and even the most die-hard DC fans have to be a little nervous about where the company is going.
So, what does all this have to do with Tom Taylor? Well let me put it like this: DC Comics, whatever you do please please please do not lose Tom Taylor. Between his work on Injustice and his own pocket DCeased universe, Taylor has shown time and again that he not only has a deep and passionate understanding of the DC pantheon, he also is a master world builder, the likes of which rarely seem to come along in comics anymore. Taylor could be the head of a new wave of DC comics coming out of this crisis, or whatever crisis Death Metal is setting up. It could be a new age for DC and help lead the line back to its glory days, but only if they make sure not to lose him in the chaos.
And DC could very well lose him because if works like this week’s book, Seven Secrets, are any indication, Tom Taylor’s ability to create compelling characters and fleshed out worlds is not limited to the playgrounds of the big two. I would not be surprised at all if indie publishers made a hard play to snatch up DC talent right now, and Taylor would be a big get.
So let’s dive into this book, see what works, what doesn’t, and where the story goes from here. And any AT&T execs reading (and I know you are) take note: this is the kind of book you need to move your company forward!
Here’s the blurb:
For fans of Once & Future and Undiscovered Country comes an all-new original series from #1 New York Times best-selling author Tom Taylor (DCeased) and artist Daniele di Nicuolo (Mighty Morphin Power Rangers) about seven powerful secrets-words, wonders, weapons, and worse-with the power to change the world.
For centuries, the Order has trusted in Keepers and Holders to guard the Secrets in seven briefcases against all harm, but when their stronghold is attacked and the secrets put in peril, the entire Order must face their greatest fear-an enemy who knows too much and is willing to kill to get what he wants.
Now, the Order’s newest member, Caspar, must discover the truth of the Secrets before the enemy does, or risk losing everything.
Just a heads up, this review will have some spoilers. You have been warned!
Right off the bat, Seven Secrets throws you into the action. We open on the aftermath of a horrific battle, bodies littering the snow, with a prisoner screaming about the dangers some unseen individual is about to unleash on the world. From there we jump back and learn this story is going to be the lead up to that possibly world-changing moment.
We’re introduced to Eva and Sigurd, keeper of one of the titular Seven Secrets. While we don’t know a lot about what these secrets are, or why they have been locked away and protected instead of destroyed, we do know that they are apparently so important that those tasked with protecting them would give up their lives in a minute to keep them safe.
We’re also introduced to our screaming prisoner from the beginning of the book. Her name is Tajana and she is the leader of their order, as well as the keeper of the first secret. She’s a gruff, older woman but one that you quickly learn cares about those in her organization. We learn that she is upset to discover that Eva is pregnant with Sigurd’s child, a big no-no for this order and that they will only be allowed to stay if they agree to give up their child to be raised by the order. Their child is Caspar, and moving forward into issue 2 he will be our lead, and, not to be too dramatic (but why not), he’s also our only hope!
Honestly, so much. The characters are well developed and interesting, even in the short amount of time we have to know them in issue 1. They have believable motivations and their actions give a good deal of depth and meaning to the importance of the task they have been given. When Sigurd is told of his son’s birth you can feel the pain on the page when he gives him up to the order, knowing he’ll never even be able to tell his son he loves him.
This emotional depth is expertly conveyed by Daniele di Nicuolo’s art, and oh boy, the art in this book! Action scenes in comics can be really hard to do well but di Nicuolo has no issue with that here. The body language, fight choreography, explosive action, it all works so well on the page. You can tell it was drawn by someone that has a lot of experience with group fight scenes and knowing di Nicuolo’s background working on Power Rangers that’s no surprise.
And the story itself is gripping. We are given just enough of a flash of this world to pique our interests, but, in a move that should come as no surprise in a book about secrets, there is still a good deal left for us to discover. There are secrets on secrets on secrets here, with little glimpses of what is being protected dropped here and there. I’m really looking forward to seeing how everything unfolds moving forward, and I trust that Taylor is going to make the ride worthwhile.
Great story, great art, compelling characters, amazing action, what more could you want?
What doesn’t work:
Honestly, there isn’t much I could point to. The world-building in a book like this is a critical thing, but like I said that’s what Taylor excels at. I can’t wait to see where this story goes and what Taylor and his team have in store. I also hope we get a ton of spin off that further explore the mythology of this world, and really plays around with the concepts Taylor has laid out here.
Should you pick Seven Secrets up?
Absolutely. If you’ve never really read much Taylor I highly recommend Seven Secrets. Read it and then wonder like I do why he has never been given the reigns to Justice League or one of the major players at DC. I dropped Superman once I understood the direction Bendis was taking the character. You give Superman to Tom Taylor and I’m 100% back on board. Heck, I barely read any Marvel, but if Taylor took over The Avengers I’d start reading that too.
Seven Secrets is great. Rush out to your local shop (obeying all local traffic codes, of course) and buy this book!