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I have been very critical about the comic book industry in several of my articles and I still stand by those statements I’ve made. When it comes to the mainstream comic book industry, there are a lot of changes that still need to be made and I don’t see big publishers like Marvel and DC making the necessary decisions to lead by example. So, it’s always nice to go to the indie market and find new comics that are not attached to a certain way of working and are primarily focused on delivering a good story. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t, but the effort with storytelling should always be there.
This leads me to the comic in hand today: The Eighth written by Adam Lawson, the writer and director of Escape the Night and the gaming shows Tabletop, Spellslingers and Sagas of Sundry. This comic was published through crowdfunding on Indiegogo and tells the story of a group of teenagers that find an ancient weapon and attempt to change the world. A simple and yet very interesting concept.
What is The Eighth?
David is a teenager and math genius with his own frustrations about the world around him. He is frustrated by people taking advantage of each other and how he doesn’t feel able to make a difference in the world beyond scribing a few words on a board. But all of that changes when he finds an ancient Sumerian armor, which after attaching to his body goes on to change his life forever.
With the power of this new-found weapon, David and his friends try to use it to change the world around them in a positive manner, resulting in some actions that are morally questionable and push them beyond their regular state of mind.
How was it?
Adam Lawson does a great job delivering this story. The Eighth has a strong concept and contains graphic scenes of sex and violence. Because of the writing style, the story is fast-paced with ever-changing events and many action scenes. I would argue that at times it would be nice to have some space and time to appreciate the quieter scenes, but I can’t deny that it was otherwise a fun read.
One aspect I really liked about the story is that it doesn’t try to force the narrative into the present day. Every time a writer tries to be modern and current, that can result in the story becoming outdated in less than five years, due to time-specific references or ways of speaking.
One example of that is seen in this story, with a subplot about high school bullying. Now, I’m 26 years old and haven’t been in high school for ten years, but I understand that bullying is not what it used to be. Therefore, I could understand people arguing that that subplot is not particularly realistic. I would argue it’s not so much about being realistic, but rather entertaining. After all, we’re dealing with a Sumerian weapon that attaches to your body! How realistic are we being here? It’s fantasy, let’s enjoy it and not obsess so much about being modern or realistic.
The three main characters feel human and show doubts and moments of weakness. Lawson is not trying to depict them as completely wholesome, but rather for what they are: teenagers with good ideals that are slowly corrupted by their new powers. It’s a classic theme and he showcases it in a natural manner. The pacing might be the biggest flaw of this comic, and the only big issue I could find; it feels like everything happens a bit too fast, at least for my liking.
But above all, the comic is fun and enjoyable. It shows a slow descent to darkness and the characters learning to deal with the consequences of their own actions. Lawson knows what he’s doing and it’s refreshing to see a modern comic book writer depicting characters as flawed and capable of making mistakes without falling into hopelessness.
What about the art?
Jorin Evers is a strong artist. His art style reminds me of the Avatar: The Last Airbender series and that’s always a compliment in my book. He has a very stylized way of drawing and I think it fits well with the mood of the story, plus it is very pleasing on the eyes like any good comic book should be.
Lawson and Evers have worked together in the past and it shows; the writing and the art work together cohesively, which is something that only happens when two collaborators have a history working together.
I really appreciate the aesthetics as well, especially when it comes to his depictions of women, which is a topic that I already addressed in this blog in the past. Evers is a very talented artist and I hope we can see more of his work in the future!
What does it represent?
The Eighth is a fun comic and that is its main strength. Adam Lawson takes a very complex topic and manages to deliver it in a fun, cohesive and entertaining manner. The vibe that I get from his work is humbleness; he doesn’t go for pretentious high-level concepts or try to talk down to the reader, but actually makes an effort to entertain, which is what every comic should do and I appreciate that.
It’s a shame that the crowdfunding campaign for this book is over, but you can follow Adam Lawson on his Twitter account to keep track of his future campaigns and sales of this comic. This comic is definitely worth your time if you are looking to have a good time reading more aggressive comics.