ES: Eternal Sabbath Vol. 3 (Del Rey)

esheaderFuyumi Soryo’s supernatural horror series continues the thought-provoking tale of two manipulative, memory-bending, superhuman chameleons.

 

 

240 pgs B&W; $10.95

(W / A: Fuyumi Soryo)

 

 

Eternal Sabbath likes to ask questions; it tests limits, asking what exactly it means to be human. Volume three of Fuyumi Soryo’s inquisitive series explores this idea through the characters Shuro and Isaac, two superhuman chameleons who excel at manipulation and memory-bending, and who, of all things, only want to live. Unfortunately, each has their own method of survival, and for Isaac, that means killing.

 

The cover to ES Vol. 3. Click thumbnail for a larger image.ES is ambitious in its undertaking, a welcome break from Soryo’s previous romance series Mars. Like hit anime such as Akira and Elfen Lied, it visits the idea of environmental influences and how they shape the personality of a maturing adult. Unlike Isaac, who grew up with little to no affection, Shuro manages to replace his violence with a sort of amoral system designed to ensure his survival but not necessarily at the loss of others’ lives.

 

Caught up in all of this is Dr. Mine Kujyo,u who turns to her old friend Kimiko for advice and support. Kimiko, however, is still sore from a life she believes Mine stole from her, and a marriage that is anything but happy. Soryo builds a considerable amount of tension between the old friends and the two chameleons, and with few places for it to give, readers can expect a dramatic snap or two.

 

As with the previous installments, the artwork is anything but disappointing. Excepting the occasional toning hiccups, the settings are hyper-detailed and characters expressively rendered. Isaac presents a sinister, Damien-esque façade, while Shuro exhibits a kind of alien curiosity. Mine tends toward confusion and anxiety, while Kimiko’s secrets are hidden beneath a veneer of smiles. Soryo excels at splash pages, illustrating water and tree bark as seamlessly as the surreal mindscapes that pepper the tale.

 

Soryo has a promising series in ES. As long as it continues to ask the questions it’s asking, driving tensions and maintaining that balance of interest and mystery, readers can look forward to some truly thought-provoking discoveries. Soryo is certainly mining her way through some heavy themes, and hopefully future installments will see her reaching a conclusion that is both insightful and satisfying. | James Nokes

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