7 Against Chaos by Harlen Ellison and Paul Chadwick with Ken Steacy (graphic novel review).

In many respects, ‘7 Against Chaos’ is very much a re-working of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ or ‘The Seven Samurai’ plot. A mysterious stranger brings together a variety of talented individuals of various ages, shapes, species and criminal background. This time, it’s not to rescue a starving village from bandits but a need to time travel into the past and stop a big nasty…well, that might be spoiler…creature from messing up the time-line. Even when leader Roark offers an alternative solution, his antagonist isn’t that keen and ultimately makes it an all-out war.


The Science Fiction dressing of time travel gives it that element more than the future reality which you only get a taste of as Roark collects his team from all sorts of mess that they are in. From that perspective, it makes you wonder why he bothers as this type of future isn’t particularly nice for any of them. Surprisingly, none of them suggest modifying the past for a better future. Maybe they don’t want to risk their own lives? Then again, the motivation that Roark gives them to do the deed might be deemed worth it by their standards.

Although this is a Harlen Ellison written story, it doesn’t really tax your brain with any deep thoughts and knowing of the speed he writes at his advanced age, it wouldn’t have surprised me if he’d put down the story in a couple of afternoons. Artist Paul Chadwick does a competent design which wouldn’t be out of place twenty or more years ago, mostly because it doesn’t look like Ken Steacy relied on computerised colouring to give it the muted look or at least avoided all the glowing highlights many colourists add today.

At the back of the book there are character designs, pin-ups and even a couple page roughs for those who want to see what goes into creating a graphic novel.

This graphic novel will no doubt sell because it has Ellison’s name on it but don’t expect it to be a heavy read.

GF Willmetts

June 2013

(pub: DC Comics. 208 page hardback graphic novel. Price: $24.99 (US), $28.99 (CAN). ISBN: 978-1-40123-910-7)

check out website: www.dccomics.com


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