(W) Jonathan Luna & Sarah Vaughn, (A) Jonathan Luna
Through four issues, Eternal Empire has been a disappointment. This is not due to a lack of technical quality, but rather lacking the emotional punch or possessing the social commentary found in Jonathan Luna and Sarah Vaughn’s previous effort, Alex + Ada. Well, it looks like the fifth time is the charm, as Eternal Empire #5 sees the series conclude its first arc on a high note.
Whether intentional or not, works of art – including comics – are informed by the times they are created in, and Eternal Empire is no exception. As our protagonists, Tair and Rion, make their way through the empire towards unoccupied lands, they come across more and more repressed peoples and an increasing sense of hopelessness against a corrupt government. However, even in a situation as dire as this, they learn of something that ignites a spark of optimism: a growing resentment from not just the people, but the empire’s military and administrative personnel.
Admittedly, I lean towards the liberal side of the political spectrum, and given the current state of U.S. [and frankly, global] politics there’s a lot in this issue which I could personally identify with. However, nearly everyone, regardless of political affiliation, gender, or race has felt hopeless at one time or another. That right there is where Eternal Empire #5 grabs the reader, refusing to let go. While this was present in the earlier issues, its execution kept the readers at a distance rather than be emotionally invested. That has been remedied here, and now the question is what new heights can Luna and Vaughn’s storytelling reach? Because right now, their ceiling is limitless.
If you don’t think this book can connect with you on an emotional level, read it for the fucking dragons.