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TKO Studios' Seven Deadly Sins is full of what you expect from a classic western adventure, but it's the unexpected elements that make this book sing, and what a brilliant song it turns out to be. Seven Deadly Sins is written by Tze Chun with art by Artyom Trakhanov and colorist Giulia Brusco, and the trio forms one dynamite team, crafting a story with the thrilling gunfights and endearing group of ragtag fighters found in many of classic tales of the Wild West. This comic also has the grit, heart, and depth to back all of that up. In short, it's a must-read, especially for those who love getting lost in genre comics.
The focal point of the story is a priest named Antonio and his daughter Grace, who are both heading into an extremely dangerous section of the American southwest on a mysterious mission. As you would expect, Antonio recruits several well-known outlaws to accompany him, and if you're thinking the premise sounds a lot like The Magnificent Seven, you'd be right. That said, this tale is all about its execution.
While Antonio and Grace are the keys to the story, the engine that makes it all move is an outlaw named Jericho Marsh. Marsh is a perfect leading man for a comic like this, full of uncomfortable and often brutal moods that always bring the stakes of this group's mission into focus. The subsequent battles are amazing, and that's in large part due to the superb artwork of Trakhanov and Brusco, but you never veer so far from the personal and often tragic stories that serve as this adventure's foundation. There's an element of surprise to all of this as well, as some of these particular threads don't really reveal themselves until late in the story.
While those three characters are crucial, I also have to credit Chun's work on Malene, a member of the group who becomes the second heart of this story in many ways, and whose past is essential to understanding what choice and freedom really mean in these pages. The others may get a larger spotlight, but she is one of the characters you'll walk away thinking about most.
It should be noted that Trakhanov and Brusco's art is brilliant here and fits this morally grey world perfectly. The inventive panel layouts and frequent close-ups create a book that doesn't look like anything else on comics shelves today, and that's when everyone is standing still. When the action kicks into gear, the visuals are even more intense and I've never seen a prison breakout this thrilling with such an economic use of space. There are some brutal and shocking moments, but they are almost always illustrating a point rather than shocking for shock's sake.
These characters aren't the easiest to love from at the beginning, but like any great Western team-up, you'll soon fall in love (or fall in like, at least) with this band of characters, rooting for them even when they have to go to a very dark place. It's not a happy ending for everyone, but it was never going to be the case for a group like this. With that said, every twist and revelation feels earned and authentic to who these characters are, and it offers a superb visual experience you won't soon forget.
Rating: 5 out of 5
Published by TKO Studios
Written by Tze Chun
Art by Artyom Trakhanov0comments
Colors by Giulia Brusco
Letters by Jared K. Fletcher
Disclosure: ComicBook is owned by CBS Interactive, a division of ViacomCBS.