Writer: Tom Taylor
Illustrator: Daniele Di Nicuolo
Colorist: Walter Baiamonte and Katia Ranalli
Publisher: Boom! Studios
WHAT IS IT?
Seven Secrets is a centuries-spanning, kinetic whirlwind story of seven powerful Words, Wonders and Weapons which, if unleashed, could destroy or rule the world and the Order of Seven’s blood oath to protect them.
Think Kingsman: The Secret Service and a bit of The Last Airbender without superpowers.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The story centers around Caspar, a forbidden lovechild born, trained and raised within the Order of Seven; his Holder and Protector parents; and the internal betrayal that could bring down all of society.
For centuries, The Order of Seven has successfully protected the Secrets but the now infiltrated, clandestine organization is covering up its own secrets, lies and half-truths that are poised to bring down their entire faction and unleash the Secrets upon the globe.
Our initial intro to the world of Seven Secrets, WORKS! Taylor deftly parachutes us into his landscape of Secrets, Old and New World Orders, Cabals and double-crosses showing us first, the carnage the evil crusade to obtain the Secrets has wrought and the backstory of our main character, Caspar. Taylor’s talented exposition and character wordplay ground the frenetically paced story. Between explosions and beheadings, we delve into our actors' motivations and lies with masterful pacing and dialogue.
Daniele Di Nicuolo’s Manga inspired art is superb! Paired with Taylor’s writing, Di Nicuolo not only conveys the characters' emotions but also creates awe-inspiring action scenes! The camera work and paneling, both equally well-executed, transports the story and plot along without confusion or question. You are never lost from panel to page, even when the location abruptly changes.
Colorists don’t seem to get their due and the colors from Baiamonte, with help from Ranalli, laying emotional and narrative color markers deserve their due. The colors and shadows from explosions, the lighting as you descend down the stairs of a hidden compound and so many color details that get professional accolades most readers miss because of its perfect execution.
Ed Dukeshire does brilliant letters. An example of his craft is page six with, “KOOM”. One, oddly enough KOOM does give the explosion a sonic direction and two, the lettering/word transparency decision, so that the actual explosion isn’t hidden in the depiction of sound, rewards us. Expect more of the wonderful same throughout the pages. Noticed when necessary, hidden but part of the story when not.
Diversity in this story also works. I’ve followed Taylor (but not closer than 6’; thanks for the Restraining Order, TOM) and I appreciate how naturally he represents diverse cultures and Seven Secrets is no exception. POC, women in power, multi-ethnic relationships are all shown without applause. Some writers attempt this with force, screaming to the world, “I HAVE BLACK FRIENDS!” or “I’M OKAY WITH GAY STUFF!” Tom’s diverse world-building is to be lauded not for its inclusion but for its, “isn’t that how the world is?” pedestrian-ness.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
We never learn what the Secrets are. Not even a tease and I’ve heard some people like that kinda stuff...no judging, please. You’re truly in the dark as to how powerful, destructive or corrosive these secrets are to the world and why they need to be hidden. I mean, they are Secrets, but we won’t tell!!
The pacing could be too fast for some. You’re thrown into an expansive Order of Keepers, Holders and spies exactly as lairs are breached by a cabal of baddies all while also meeting our main characters in the process. This could be a lot of set up done too quickly for some.
This last bullet is Me forcing myself to come up with Something That Doesn’t Work because I thought it all worked rather well.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
If you enjoy stories about secret societies like Kingsman, governmental conspiracies like regular life today, with manic manga-inspired art and inspired writing, this is for you. If intrigue and layered exposition is your Jam, Seven Secrets won’t disappoint. If you want the Big Two quality with Independents' originality, gotcha right here! If you don’t, try it anyway.
WHAT DO I READ NEXT?
If you like the writing:
Seven Secrets #2 by Tom Taylor and Daniele Di Nicuolo
Dceased by Tom Taylor & Trevor Hairsine and James Harren
Earth 2 by Tom Taylor & Nicola Scott
If you like the art:
Dceased: Hope at World’s End by Tom Taylor & Daniele Di Nicuolo
Infinite Loop by Elsa Charretier and Pierrick Colinet & Daniele Di Nicuolo
Extremity by Daniel Warren Johnson
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Tom Taylor (@TomTaylorMade) – Writer
Outlander: Born in Melbourne, Tom is a New York Times bestselling author and award-winning playwright who has produced work for Marvel, DC, Dark Horse and BOOM among many others.
Tom’s co-created and award-winning novel, The Deep, is a cartoon on Netflix!
Tom has a twin brother named Tom King (this is only partly true – but which part?).
Daniele Di Nicuolo (@imkota) – Illustrator
Outlander: Daniele is based in Milan, Italy and has spent much of his not so free time appropriately social distancing and adhering to lockdown protocols and preparing speeches for his eventual award nominations.
Along with co-creating Seven Secrets, he also created the Omega Rangers!
Di Nicuolo stays fit weight lighting at home and can't wait to get back to the gym!
Walter Baiamonte (@WalterBaiamonte) – Colorist
Walter’s art style is heavily influenced by Manga.
Walter is also a big fan of video games (particularly Devil May Cry and Capcom releases).
Katia Ranalli (@KatiaRanalli) – Color Assistance
Outlander: Katia hails from Italy
While she likely did flattening and other color assistance for Baiamonte here, she’s a very talented artist in her own right!
She identifies as a Hufflepuff and a Stark! That’s Game of Thrones, not Marvel.
Ed Dukeshire (@eDukeDW) – Letters
From Boston, Ed is the founder of Digital Webbing, a forum where comic book creators can professionally network, socialize, job post and find work.
Ed is a Best Letterer Harvey Award nominee for his work on the Boom Studios comic, The Woods.
Ed is also an unapologetic video game junkie.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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