ES: Eternal Sabbath Vol. 4 (Del Rey)

es-hVolume four finds Dr. Mine Kujyou delving into the memories of Shuro, the lighter side of a superhuman duo that easily could be the most dangerous killers on the planet.



240 pgs B&W; $10.95

(W / A: Fuyumi Soryo)



The fourth volume in Fuyumi Soryo's eight volume Eternal Sabbath series finds Dr. Mine Kujyou delving into the memories of Shuro, the lighter side of a superhuman duo that easily could be the most dangerous killers on the planet. The pair's powers of illusion and thought control are frightening at best, yet Soryo is not caught up in the distraction of Dragon Ball Z one-upmanship. Instead, she chooses to focus upon relationships, ones which have grown exponentially since the onset of this series.


The cover to ES Vol. 4 by Fuyumi Soryo. Click thumbnail for a larger image.Themes of objectification and dehumanization take center stage as Shuro recounts just how alone he and Isaac were in their laboratory setting, something that up until now readers did not have a chance to experience. Rigged to a machine that is part hypnotizer and part MRI, Shuro admits some of the strangest and painful moments of this series. Soryo evokes a true sense of disappointment and isolation with Isaac and Shuro and shows readers that environmental influences have a very real way of turning a black-and-white situation gray. Yes, Isaac's murders are deplorable, but Soryo opens up the idea of contributing factors that make Issac's actions not necessarily surprising.


Soryo starts flexing some muscle in this volume, heavy-lifting the ideas of emotional maturity with Isaac, who has advanced mentally as an adult yet is still stunted. This excuses the juvenile way Isaac argues and illuminates more truths about contributors that factored into Issac and Shuro's states. Pain, fear, and distrust are so vividly present in the twins that readers cannot help but feel pity toward both who grew up physically perfect, but nevertheless scarred.


Shuro too develops further as a person and edges away from his amoral worldview, as he feels pain and sees the flaws in Isaac's logic. He knows he must stop his twin, but he also is torn by his connection. Here is where Soryo plays most upon tensions. Isaac exists in a clear-cut black-and-white world, literally on the page, and figuratively. Shuro discovers that sometimes life is not that divisible. Not only does this challenge readers' expectations, but also it tests characters' stances. For Kujyou, the world is empirical, measurable by data, yet she continues to struggle with her emotions, which makes her and Shuro such appropriate foils for Isaac. Soryo's knack for these kinds of relationships is never more clear than in this installment, and she releases that information at a delicious pace.


Artistically, Soryo continues to impress with expressive characters and disturbing scenes like psychic fires in cytology labs and mirror-shattering breakdowns. Readers could do without the eroticized splash pages that go so far against the series' current sober tone as to be absurd. Perhaps if Kujyou and Shuro experience a romance — as suggested by the Adam and Eve cut scenes — these images will have a stronger place, but for now, probably not the best way to break up a great read that has everything readers could want, complexity, tension, and a hint of redemption. | James Nokes

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