The quest to liberate an oppressed land from the grip of a despotic king is a classic fantasy trope, but when the king is a master manipulator and the heroes standing up to him are a band of physically and emotionally battered mystics things start to become a lot more interesting. That’s the set up for writer Rick Remender and artist Jerome Opena’s creator owned Image Comics series Seven to Eternity where ailing Adam Osidis and several other Mosaks (people with mystical powers) embark on an epic journey across the world of Zhal to end the rule of the tyrannical, silver-tongued, Mosak, Garils Sulm, AKA the Mud King.
Unfortunately for Adam and company, the only way to do that is to bring the Mud King to a far off wizard. In the series’ currently unfolding second arc, they’ve had to endure the Mud King’s verbal machinations, haunted swamps and hostile populations, all while being chased by the villain’s champions. Along the way, readers have met some new characters and made startling discoveries about the established cast.
CBR spoke with Remender about the twists, turns and new cast members of the arc, which comes to a close with this month’s Seven to Eternity #9. The writer also hinted at what readers can expect from the series moving forward, including the possibility of someday creating their own adventures on Zhal via a pen and paper Seven to Eternity roleplaying game.
CBR: With these last few issues of Seven to Eternity you’ve built an epic story of chases and races. Adam Osidis is racing against death to find a cure to the disease that’s killing him and liberate Zhal from the rule of the villainous Mud King; Jevalia and the other Mosak are chasing after Adam who went off on his own with their prisoner, the Mud King; and the rest of the Mud King’s forces are chasing all of them.
Rick Remender: Yeah, that’s some good broad strokes on it.
I think there’s some interpersonal stuff that hopefully shines through, but in terms of motives and driving forces pushing things forward that’s pretty much it.
Another thing that has become clear in these most recent issues is that Seven to Eternity is a fantasy story with a lot of influences, but I see a lot of the Western genre in the book as well in that your characters are going on a long journey with a prisoner in their custody. Was that intentional?
Yes. I obviously had reread Dune, and Lord of the Rings and, for fun, I reread a bunch of old D&D stuff that I had written in eight grade. I then watched three or four westerns and read a book on the Comanche. So my head was kind of cooked between those things when I was writing this.
This second arc also added a lot of new elements and wrinkles to your ongoing story. Some of the most interesting revelations were about the Mud King. The Mosak Jevalia revealed that Adam’s father and the Mud King were very close. So corrupting Adam is something very personal to Garils Sulm. We also learned that he had a pretty tragic back story involving a murderous grandfather. Can you talk a little more about that?
I don’t want to confirm or deny anything that one character is proposing about another because that’s sort of a fun mystery. Is Jevalia right?
At this point, the Mud King’s motives are entirely suspect. We don’t quite know what his motives are. Everybody seems to have a different impression of him and what he’s up to. As we unfold the story we begin to see that there is more to him than meets the eye.
So there are some fun answers to come about why he did what he did in issue #6. We have not reached the stage of the game yet though where we’ll hang a lantern on what particular motive the Mud King has.
The Mud King is known for his silver tongue and bending people to his will. Should the readers trust anything he says?
If anything he’s the highest level Machiavellian manipulator of people. That’s kind of the fun of the character. As they’re on this journey with him they’re trying to suss out what he wants. In issue #4 he has an opportunity to escape and he doesn’t take it. Instead he enacts his revenge on Patchwork.
So there’s a lot of unanswered questions with him that are going to play a big role in the third arc.
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