Sequential Hearts: Oeming & Soma on "Rapture"

Can love flourish at the end of the world... even when it's already all but extinguished?

"Rapture" is a new Dark Horse series co-written and illustrated by Michael Avon Oeming and Taki Soma that finds reluctant heroine Evelyn Town entrusted with a mystical spear by a being called The Word. Evelyn must slash her way through a post-Apocalyptic wasteland on a quest to be reunited with her estranged boyfriend. Issue #1 will ship in May, but Evelyn's story begins this month in "MySpace Dark Horse Presents." CBR News discussed the series Oeming and Soma, who have a love story of their own.

Oeming and Soma were married in January after a courtship that was often long-distance. They met at a convention "on the moon" around 2004. "He had on these cool boots," Soma told CBR.

The couple started dating in 2007, though it was "very slow dating and long distance," according to Oeming. "I was in New Jersey and she was in Minneapolis. Might as well have been the moon, but that didn't stop us." The newlyweds now live in Seattle. Their wedding was officiated by "Kabuki" artist David Mack, and Oeming's "Powers" collaborator Brian Michael Bendis served as best man.

The happy couple's new series, "Rapture," also has romance at its heart. As the story opens, Evelyn boards an airplane after not quite resolving her feelings for Gil, her sometimes boyfriend. "The two lovers are at completely opposite end of the spectrum in love," Soma explained. "Evelyn doesn't know how to be loved, and Gil lost himself in love -- your typical first-adult-love." Oeming added, "Our story begins at what could be their end."

When a superhero battle tears Evelyn's plane in half and ushers in a dark, near-apocalyptic world, her first thought is to reconnect with Gil. "Yeah, as they have this soggy break-up the world ends--literally, echoing the desperation we all felt when our first real love ends," Soma explained. "Without the support of champions with powers protecting the earth, the people who still live are left with nothing but a desolate wasteland with no hope."

The world of "Rapture" had been heading toward destruction for some time. "It's a super powered world where battles between good and evil have been raging for years," said Oeming. "Eventually the battle leaves the planet in ruins. There are no champions, good or evil left on Earth, they have all left with the battle.

"So it's not a literal Rapture, but all the blessed and chosen beings with power seem to abandon the earth leaving it in a hellish state, so we thought the title was perfect. Also, Rapture can be a feeling of love and passion. At its roots, 'Rapture' is a love story. We've found love and super powers are good themes to play off of each other."

While the May-shipping first issue of "Rapture" flashes back and forth between the ruined present and the immediate past, this month's preview strip in "MySpace Dark Horse Presents" dives right into the action, featuring an Evelyn who has already taken up the Spear and is fighting cannibals at The Word's bidding.

"Evelyn has her own agenda to mend the relationship she broke-off with Gil when she was chosen to become a champion," Soma said. "She's reluctant because she is blinded by love and she feels as if being a champion gets in the way of it. Everyone left alive believes that they were abandoned by the champions so I think it takes a big shake by the shoulders before the mass accept her presence as a new hero."

"Evelyn is wonderfully childish and selfish," Oeming added. "It's a great place to start a character and build on her. She can't accept responsibility, especially not love or being a Champion."

Oeming said that working with his new wife has been an illuminating experience. "Taki has been great to write with and draw with. She's really helped me improve my layouts and visual storytelling. Asking her to work with me was as nerve wracking--if not more--than asking her out the first time. I mean, mixing work and a relationship can be dangerous, but like most things in life, it's often the most daring moves that are the most rewarding!"

Soma, for her part, likened the collaboration to breakdancing. "It's complicated but takes skill, patience, and practice--but it's super fun."

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