ES: Eternal Sabbath Vol. 5 (Del Rey)

esheaderThis fifth installation departs from the brutality of  previous volumes and instead focuses upon the blooming relationship between neurologist Mine Kujyou and superhuman Shuro.

 

 

240 pgs. B&W; $10.95

(W / A: Fuyumi Soryo)

 

 

In this fifth installation of Eternal Sabbath, Fuyumi Soryo departs from the brutality of her previous volumes and chooses instead to focus upon the blooming relationship between neurologist Mine Kujyou and superhuman Shuro. The only blemish to this rather warm storyline is the addition of Yuri, the young friend of Shuro's twin Isaac, who not only has to deal with murders, but also a mother who revisits her own abusive past on Yuri.

 

The cover to ES Vol. 5 by Fuyumi Soryo. Click thumbnail for a larger image.Soryo has been threading redemption through the story all along and teasing readers about Isaac's possible salvation. This volume in particular is certainly a volume of characters proving things to themselves. Mine, afraid of her reliance upon Shuro's powers, counsels Yuri's mother on her own, and Shuro, unsure of his love for Mine, manages to bed his fears and make a move in what proves to be some of the series' most wonderfully illustrated and intimate moments. Readers may excuse Soryo for dwelling on the kiss for more than six pages, especially since she constructs such satisfying tensions between the two characters. Even the rain-soaked kiss the two share later beats out its cliché.

 

Equally moving are Soryo's portrayals of Yuri's mother, who, when she is not beating Yuri, tragically disregards her. Soryo humanizes the violent nature of child abuse, and while not excusing it, moves beyond the simplified image of abuser-as-devil. At times, Mine's intervention seems a bit forced, and readers may find Yuri's mother's breakthroughs clinically unrealistic and jarring, but even still, the mother-daughter relationship is cohesive, and if anything–given Soryo's love of parallelism–can be taken as a suggestion of Isaac's fate.

 

There's no doubt Soryo is growing these characters. In beautifully illustrated detail, she has collected a handful of damaged lives, including a one-eyed dog, and made them part of an organic structure. Every breath of guilt and glop of clumsy conversation resonates with the architecture of this tale, and as long as Soryo sustains the forward motion of this piece, readers will be more than happy to indulge her brief lapses of convenience. | James Nokes

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