Seven Soldiers is an epic tale of life, death, triumph and redemption that explores the nature of heroism and sacrifice. Featuring the first four of the seven soldiers: The Shining Knight, The Guardian, Zatanna and Klarion the Witch Boy. Independently, each of these characters is featured in a story that redefines their purpose in the DC Universe. But their stories also interweave with the others, telling a grander story of a devastating global threat to mankind. Together, these reluctant champions must work together to save the world from the insidious threat of the invading Sheeda warriors — without even meeting one another.
Collecting: Seven Soldiers of Victory 0, Guardian 1-4, Klarion, the Witchboy 1-3, Zatanna 1-3, Shinning Knight 1-4
Grant Morrison has been working with DC Comics for twenty five years, after beginning his American comics career with acclaimed runs on ANIMAL MAN and DOOM PATROL. Since then he has written such best-selling series as JLA, BATMAN and New X-Men, as well as such creator-owned works as THE INVISIBLES, SEAGUY, THE FILTH, WE3 and JOE THE BARBARIAN. In addition to expanding the DC Universe through titles ranging from the Eisner Award-winning SEVEN SOLDIERS and ALL-STAR SUPERMAN to the reality-shattering epic of FINAL CRISIS, he has also reinvented the worlds of the Dark Knight Detective in BATMAN AND ROBIN and BATMAN, INCORPORATED and the Man of Steel in The New 52 ACTION COMICS.
In his secret identity, Morrison is a "counterculture" spokesperson, a musician, an award-winning playwright and a chaos magician. He is also the author of the New York Times bestseller Supergods, a groundbreaking psycho-historic mapping of the superhero as a cultural organism. He divides his time between his homes in Los Angeles and Scotland.
The Seven Soldiers of Victory 30-issue epic by Grant Morrison is an ambitious reimagining of 7 third tier characters by introducing new concepts and settings into their back-stories. These are basically new characters as re-imagined by Morrison. The rejuvenated mythology was intended to provide fuel for new ongoing series.
Whether these lofty targets were achieved, I cannot say because I have only read the first part of the saga. Such, my thoughts on the entire story is reserved until I can get my paws on the second volume.
The entire 30 issues of Seven Soldiers are collected in two deluxe hard covers. It presents the seven miniseries and the two bookends in the order of release. This is the best way to enjoy the story. Although the Seven never meet, but they face a common foe and their stories intertwine.
The first volume contains the first bookend, the complete four issues of The Shining Knight, The Manhattan Guardian and Zatanna. The first three issues of Klarion, the Witch Boy round out the collection. This also includes concept art by both J. H. Williams, the artist on the bookend and Morrison on the characters. Morrison’s initia; designs are almost the final look for all these characters.
Seven Soldiers features strong writing from Morrison. New concepts and milieus like post-Arthur Camelot and Knights of the Broken Table;, an underground Puritan colony; and the subterranean societies that surround it like the Pirate Kings of the hidden subway are introduced in the first volume and there are probably more in the next.
The artistic line up too is a veritable dream team. J. H. Williams, Ryan Sook, Simone Bianchi, Cameron Stewart and Frazier Irving could headline their own books now, and these Seven Soldiers issues are what started their rise as comic book stars.
I really enjoyed this volume and two of the miniseries stand out for me. The Shining Knight and Klarion, The Witch Boy is two of the titles that I would have been interested to follow should they get their own ongoing series. Morrison’s new takes on Arthurian legend and the Croatoan mystery, is refreshing. The art complements Morrison’s strong storytelling, Bianchi and Irving are indeed rising stars in the comics business. These two would prosper if they have monthly books to showcase their art on a regular basis.
I cannot recommend this book enough and I suggest getting the second volume to fully enjoy this wonderful story.
When it comes to Grant Morrison writing the DC universe, you are always in for a treat as he's someone who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of DC's history and re-exploring ideas from decades ago that you didn’t know happened. The best example of this would be his seven-year Batman run, which was less Frank Miller and more like the Silver Age where Batman delve into strange sci-fi territory and interacting with the Club of Heroes, which led to Morrison writing Batman Incorporated.
Having written the big guns for DC such as his JLA run with artist Howard Porter, in the mid-noughties the Scotsman would revive DC's second super-hero team, following the Justice Society of America. However, being Grant Morrison, who likes to change things up, it's a team that never actually meets. The first issue (drawn by JH Williams III), the Vigilante forms a new version of the Seven Soldiers in order to battle an arachnid-like race known as the Sheeda, only to be killed during an event known as the Harrowing.
What follows is seven miniseries, each about a singular superhero, who during the course of their individual journeys will lead to the threat that destroyed the previous Seven Soldiers. From well-known creations (Mister Miracle, Zatanna, Klarion the Witch Boy) to the little-known characters (Frankenstein, Shining Knight) to the brand spanking new (Bulleteer, Manhattan Guardian), Morrison is once again opening the treasure chest of the publisher's history and is able to add his own spin on those characters.
Based on Creig Flessel's Golden Age Shining Knight, this new Shining Knight is also named Sir Justin, who has been knighted just before the fall of Camelot from about 8,000 BC. Escaping the battle against the Sheeda from Castle Revolving, Shining Knight suddenly falls to earth in modern Los Angeles, becoming a fish out of water. Although Morrison can put too much attention towards the ancient fantasy with characters speaking in an unknown language whilst artist Simone Bianchi's muted watercoloured illustrations can be obscure and at times grotesque, Justin is a compelling enough hero given his youthful ambitions, even he's out of his depth, including a reveal later in his arc that adds a new perspective towards the knight.
So far, the most interesting member out of this group is the Manhattan Guardian, based on Joe Simon and Jack Kirby's The Guardian who resembles their earlier and more popular superhero Captain America. Hired to be a tabloid-sponsored superhero, the former policeman Jake Jordan has a very traditional superhero arc in how he balances his well-paid crimefighting position with his personal life and how one can leave disastrous results for the other. Cameron Stewart's art is simple yet exquisite in how he draws this world, which is a fantastical version of New York City, where subway pirates exist and a citywide network of volunteer reporters called the "Newsboy Army", which has a whole issue devoted to them and it's simply wonderful.
When we delve into wizards and magicians, things start to falter with the arcs of Zatanna and Klarion. Although Zatanna has always been a great character as she not only cast spells by speaking backwards, but also has a strong friendship with Batman. However, there aren’t many stories solely about her that aren’t the most compelling and in here, where she becomes powerless, but mentors a young girl named Misty (possibly named after professional magician Misty Lee) in how to use magic. It does feel familiar to what Neil Gaiman was doing with The Books of Magic and Morrison has done his Gaiman impression on several occasions, which doesn't always work.
Another Jack Kirby creation has his own miniseries for Seven Soldiers, which is everyone's favourite witch boy. Born and raised as an inhabitant of an underground community known as Limbo Town, Klarion is quite the rebellious boy who breaks away from his religion and during one clash, he winds up in modern New York. Although Morrison takes Klarion into weird directions and we still don’t know how he participates in the overall narrative, he is pleasantly sinister with his pet cat Teekl, whilst Frazer Irving (whom I'm not usually a fan of) downplays his often psychedelic computerised art, with his effective use of silhouettes and expressive facial designs.
As this is one half of the metaseries, we haven't seen the whole experiment come to fruition as we still haven't seen the three remaining members. Although not all of Grant Morrison's ideas will be understandable for everyone, which is common with the writer's works, but so far Seven Soldiers of Victory is succeeding in giving us a team of unlikely superheroes that don't really meet.
So Grant Morrison was raised by back issue bins. Here, he shows his upbringing by revisiting mostly forgotten characters from DC's past. The idea is to use seven mid-range characters in (mostly) new forms in a team book where there is no team. The characters won't meet, but they will have a common enemy. I feel like I can't give a full review until I've read the entire project. I need to see how it comes together before I can fully pass judgement. But so far, I'm enjoying myself. This particular volume had the prologue issue, Shining Knight and Guardian's full four-issue miniseries, and most of Klarion and Zatanna's. Klarion's is by far my favorite so far, though the last issue of Shining Knight was great. Zatanna's feels kind of disconnected, like Morrison didn't really know what to do with her. Shame.
I lost interest in this series when it was first published. I was stunned when I picked it up last week and found that it is one of the best comics Grant Morrison has written. It is a very unusual series, involving 7 characters who form the "Seven Soldiers" but don't each other and never have a big team-up, although they do have an accidental meeting or two. The Sheeda are a race resembling the fae, invading Earth at different points in time. They conquer Camelot and then re-emerge in the 21st century to take over our era. Seven Soliders have to oppose them. While they never meet, there is an ongoing mystery to what happened in their past, which is slowly revealed over all the titles. A mysterious monster is crushed in The Manhattan Guardian but we find out more about the scene in Klarion. A lot of these characters are re-imaginings of classic Kirby characters such as the Guardian, Klarion and Mister Miracle. Zatanna proves that this series does take place in the DC Universe (pre new 52), and the work on this book by Morrison and Ryan Sook make you wish they could produce a Zatanna series for years.
I do so love Seven Soldiers. This is the first half, with Shining Knight (which is better written than it is illustrated), much of Klarion (my second fave Seven Soldiers series), all of Guardian (another reeeeally good one), and much of Zatanna (tons of fun).
It's also worth noting that JH Williams III's art in the prologue one-shot is great. He manages to swing effortlessly from his typical style to a John Severin-type Western style and back to his own again.
I was recommended this on the Reel Bad podcast episode on Suicide Squad. At first I found the name cheesy. It surely is an interesting concept. This is a team of heroes who do not meet each other but parts of their story interact and mix. Apparently, there are 3 ways to read this: there is the 4 volume series, 2 volume series and omnibus. I am reviewing the 2 volume option.
This one collects the various issues in the order they were published. So, one issue can be The Shining Knight and then switch to Klarion, the witch boy.
I found the prologue really confusing and this definitely has to be read as a hard copy. In terms of whether I knew these characters before hand, I recognized Zatanna from the Justice League, Klarion and the Guardian from Young Justice. cartoon. The Shining Knight was new to me. I honestly thought it was a she based on the cover.
The storyline is a little confusing as some of the issues may be happening at the same time. Klarion stood out to me from the characters. A young boy who wishes to explore the world outside of his little town, it scared me that he posessed a cunning and slyness too. You would think he would feel some guilt even when he lets a betrayer die at the hands of those he betrayed. But he smiles and seemed gleeful!
In general, the content can be quite graphic in violent, not much sexual content and qlot of dialogue.
I suppose I should note up front that I didn't grow up with superhero comics (Asterix and Tintin were my people), and I've never really found them to my taste. However, the complete set of this series fell into my lap, so I thought I'd give this first volume a whirl. Conceptually, it's kind of interesting -- basically, it seems that DC told Morrison to go through the back catalog and find third-tier characters that never made it, and generate some new content in the hopes that at least one might be developed into franchise material. I kind of have to admire such a blatant IP-driven approach to creativity.
In any event, Morrison came up with a bunch of possibilities, eventually winnowing them down to the seven titular soldiers. The idea behind each issue is to give each character enough of a story to launch with, and to tie all seven together against a common thread. This initial volume contains the first set of issues, and introduces four of the seven characters. The problem is that I think I really don't care for Morrison's writing -- it's pretty fractured and wild, and I much prefer a straightforward plotline. I tried Doom Patrol a while back and had the same reaction -- his stuff always feels to me like he wrote it on mushrooms or something. All in all, although there are some cool ideas (NYC subway pirates for example), it's not my cup of tea and I won't be reading the other three volumes.
Seven Soliders of Victory might be the most ambitious comic event ever. Morrison revives this long forgotten golden age team for a modern audience. This story isn’t told like your typical event where one part leads into the next, after reading issue 0 each of the seven soldiers get their own four issue minis that are standalone stories that tie into one another all leading up to issue 1 of SSOV. The concept reminds me of the MCU where all the stand alone movies connect for the grand finale. In book one we see the stories of Zatanna, Klarion, The Manhattan Guardian, and The Shining Knight. Before reading this I had no interest in the other characters aside from Zatanna but Morrison made me care a lot about them and get invested in their stories. Also I appreciate him giving Zatanna a character driven storyline, she is one of my favorite DC characters but is sadly often times reduced to the magic member of the JLA who shows up in any book that needs a problem solved by magic, she’s sometimes treated more as a plot device than a character. So I appreciate Morrison’s take on her.
I'm going to go ahead and review the full series here, because there's no way anyone should read only part of the story.
This is some of the most Morrison-esque stuff I've read. It's incredibly ambitious, often incredibly good, often annoyingly sloppy and inscrutable, and consistently intertwined with old and forgotten comics. I ended up really enjoying it, despite what I would consider to be some pretty serious mis-steps; the good parts, and the clever connections, were just really well done.
The art is a bit hit-or-miss. A couple of the artists have strong styles that fit the stories well; others are much more standard. And the mini-series are similar. A few of them are really fascinating, a few of them aren't very good.
But overall, this is a pretty one-of-a-kind thing, and those are hard to come by in comics.
Seven Soldiers of Victory Grant Morrison's ideas and words. JH Williams III, and a bunch of others did the art.
Grant Morrison has reached the comic book promised land. That glorious place where a comics creator can approach either of the Big Two comics companies (Marvel and DC) with any idea he has and be given free rein to do whatever he wants. There are not many creators in this echelon. Currently Brian Michael Bendis has achieved that status at Marvel and is happily playing with the Marvel Universe like it was his own private box of toys. Grant Morrison is DC's equivalent. After having written the greatest Superman story ever (All Star Superman), creating giant year-long, company-wide crossovers, and pumping out successful runs on Batman, Justice League of America and a host of Vertigo titles, Grant Morrison now has carte blanche to tackle anything in the DC Universe. While that's great for him, for the average reader, it has it's downsides. As with Bendis over at Marvel, even visionaries with great ideas need editors, or someone to second guess them now and again, lest their visions become sprawling inchoate ramblings. Worse is the effect that their relative fame and lack of oversight has on what they're allowed to publish. Frankly, the writers and publishers are so used to seeing gold come out of their mind that even when they drop a big pile of crap, it looks like gold. Too often the legions of comics fans buy it all up and perpetuate that belief. That's not to say that 7 Soldiers is crap. It's not. It's pretty good in fact. But with a little more editing and just a bit of restraint by the writer it could have been much, much better.
The basic idea for the book is one that Marvel and DC have been mining for years now. Revise and update some old overlooked character from the company's history, in an attempt to make them a marketable franchise again (see: Sandman, Animal Man, Agents of Atlas, et al). Being an enthusiast of DC history, Morrison decided to do this project less out of a burning desire to tell a specific story and more because "he needed a challenge." So 7 non-traditional superheroes are dragged from the depths of the DC library and pulled together under the banner of one big story called 7 Soldiers of Victory. Each of the 7 characters is given a 4 issue miniseries, which loosely tie together in one overarching plot in which they must save the world. Each miniseries is done by a different art team which further separates and isolates each character from each other and the unifying story, and the books are ordered not by each characters' mini-series but by release date. Supposedly this lets you best see the underlying elements tying to the story together, but I think it fails to do so well, mostly just feeling disjointed and confusing instead.
The biggest problem with this book is that all 7 soldiers are not created equal. The Guardian, Klarion the witch boy, Frankenstein, and The Shining Knight are all fun, well written, interesting concepts, with art that is compelling and adds tremendously to the appeal and excitement of their story. Zatanna has great moments but has to work too hard to connect all the disparate elements of the meta-story; she has no cohesion or reason to her own tale. She's just kind of kicked around from one major plot point to the next. And finally The Bulleteer, and Mr. Miracle. Both characters connection to the overarching story is tenuous and unnecessary. The Bulleteer is bland, boring, and has the stupidest costume I've seen in a super hero comic trying to take itself seriously. Mr. Miracle has inferior artwork, often looking amateurish. If both characters were left out entirely, the series overall becomes MUCH better. But unfortunately Morrison's devotion to the history of the DC Universe forces his hand. There was an old book DC put out called 7 soldiers of Victory, so this story has to be about 7 soldiers. Even though inexplicably an eighth character called True Thomas plays a more important role in the story than most of the 7 soldiers themselves.
In the narrative Morrison uses an image of the Miser's coat, a bunch of separate patches sewn up to be a garment, as an analogy for this 7 soldiers story. Except it doesn't really work. Sure there are a lot of different patches here. But they don't really function the way they're supposed to. The seams are too apparent, there are too many holes, and too many patches. If this story were a coat it wouldn't have sleeves or buttons or a collar. I guess you could call it a coat if you wrapped it around yourself. But you'd be lying. It's just a bunch of material, some really good, some bad, thrown together and called one thing. This is not one story, but 7 or 8 (maybe 9) stories put together indelicately, in the hope of being greater than the sum of its parts. Unfortunately it is not. And to make matters worse Morrison's goal of re-launching these characters as viable franchises in their own right has mostly failed. Frankenstein and Zatanna are the only two characters that DC has been able to launch in their own titles. It's unclear whether either will be good enough to last.
I can't recommend buying 7 Soldiers in its' collected editions. I can recommend the individual 4 part mini-series of Frankenstein, The Guardian, Klarion The Witch Boy, and The Shining Knight. None have been collected as mini-series on their own so you'd have to buy the individual comics. mycomicshop.com is my usual spot for single comic purchases.
It was a promising start: character backgrounds being laid out and writers giving a quick palatable history of the original seven through recall and conversations between characters and flashbacks. I'm unsure if I can recommend this to new readers for a number of reasons: (1) it doesn't feature mainstream heroes, (2) too many jumps between perspectives, and (3) too many things happening in various timeliness and periods. So if you don't want to ruin your comic book experience, find something more linear or simple.
Absoultely stunning work. Morrison's writing is at their best here, providing a stimulating and fresh approach to DC comics properties that is absolutely engrossing.
A fantastic concept beautifully executed, with stunning artwork by different top-of-the-line artists that fully flesh out Morrison's vision and wild concepts.
Morrison is known to sometimes screw up the ending to their complex, rich tales. Hopefully Volume Two, that collects the final part of this saga, will provide a satisfying conclusion to what is shaping up to be one of the best comics I've read in my life.
Neat and imaginative storytelling that goes the extra mile to bring something fresh to the table.
Many comic enthusiasts explain their love for the medium by stating its profound ability to inspire and cater boundless imagination. Seven soldiers of victory and its slowly unravelling story is a great example of this.
The ideas here are stunning and fantastic, justifying the cost of admission in concepts alone. The idea behind the book its-self is a truly unique one, tying a group of seven forgotten, never meeting heroes together to unknowingly face off against a shared enemy. It's the sort of idea that can only work in comic books, though whether or not it is totally successful remains to be seen by me in book two. The whole experiment is brought together across two large volumes, and by itself, aside from stirring several "aha" moments, the first tome does not provide anything like a satisfying resolution. At times the story-telling can feel a bit janky, or leave you wondering if you missed something, but considering I'm missing half of the puzzle, I'll have to trust that Morrison puts all the pieces together before the epic is over.
Some of the titles collected here-in are stronger than others, Klarion and The Guardian standing out as my favorites with beautiful artwork and the most inventive scenarios. Shining Knight ends up my least favorite here, feeling more familiar than the other books, and while Simone Bianchi's art can be brilliant at times, I'm not a fan of his Camelot designs, and at times he has trouble communicating action in his panels. The dialogue in Zatanna is the most fun to read, and J.H. Williams III's art in the prologue issue is stunning. All in all, this is a tough book to ignore, and only so much can go wrong with such wonderful talent at the wheel.
Seven and seven, seven times. The nature of dreams, and storytelling, and the malleable, patchwork, secret histories behind every story. The eternal struggle between destiny and freedom, between life and anti-life, between transcendence and suffering. Fictional stories in our history becoming reality and then becoming fiction once more.
This is all familiar Morrison territory. He's done it before - in some cases better, in some cases a little more organized, and in some cases much more uplifting. But this isn't All-Star Superman or Flex Mentallo, this is Seven Soldiers. It might be the most completely off-the-wall thing Morrison's ever done in terms of scope and ambition. And when you read it in the context of the rest of his work for DC, a lot of patterns become clear. This isn't a bad thing. But it leans heavily, from time to time, on the reader's knowledge of the Fourth World mythos, or several concepts introduced in JLA. And this could be spun as a good thing.
It's admirable, and inspiring, and a testament to the brilliance of the assorted creators that it works as well as it does. Seven Soldiers forges new paths even as it falls apart at the seams. It's messy, and it's convoluted, and it very nearly collapses under its own weight of burdened story-telling, but isn't that how we all live our lives anyway?
If you're not already a Grant Morrison fan, this (probably) won't sway you. It has all of his hallmarks: a challenging narrative structure, questions about reality, using comic books as a dimension which we exist alongside of, deep cuts into DC history, etc... But it is probably the best distillation of Morrison's DC Comics work and it is quite impressive. It is essentially the story of the modern Seven Soldiers, a superteam of seven C and D-listers from DC's history, who actually never meet each other, yet defeat a horrible threat to the DC Universe. It's told via two one-off bookend chapters, but primarily in seven four-issue miniseries. It's an interesting way to tell a story, and one you could really only do in comics. I loved it, but if you're just looking for a fun story where people hit each other, this is not that.
I read most of these issues when they came out, being some of the few individual issues of comics I actually own. This issue follows four of the group of seven on their own adventures. Some of them clearly focus on the threat of extra-dimensional beings who are bent on destroying humanity. In certain ways the more tangential stories are more intriguing. So far, the Manhattan Guardian and the underworld Puritan character Klarion are the best so far. Curious to see how everything gets wrapped up.
Re-read in 2020: Still enjoyed the first set, with Klarion, the Manhattan Guardian and Zatanna. I was talking about Arthurian legends and retellings which inspired me to pick this up again.
Seven Soldiers of Victory re-imagines some of DC's lesser known characters: Zatanna, Klarion the Witch Boy, Guardian, Shining Knight, Frankenstein, Bulleteer, and Mister Miracle. Although the story does not contain any of the major players like Superman, Wonder Woman, or Batman, this is still one of the best books DC has put out. Each story character's story is compelling, there are no boring ones, and the artwork is amazing! The characters in Seven Soldiers are a lot more interesting than "the big three"(Bats, WW,and Supes)have been recently.
While the concept is to have disparate characters who don't know each other all working together inadvertently to fight a worldwide threat, the threads come together very, very late, which left me wondering what the purpose of these stories being connected was for almost the entirety of this volume. Once the connecting elements were divulged, though, I skipped back through and was pretty impressed by their subtle implementation. Beyond that, this is a very well-written and gorgeously-illustrated take on myth and comic books, which Grant Morrison obviously believes are one in the same.
One of the first things I have genuinely liked by Grant Morrison and its because he isn't trying to show-off his obscure knowledge of some 1940's issue of Batman that no-one cares about and doesn't matter. He is just trying to write a good story to get people interested in characters and the result is a great and fun read! If he just wrote stories like this all the time I would read a lot more Morrison...
I'll say more after I finish Book Two, but so far I'm really enjoying this format--seven stories about seven separate low-level/unpopular superheroes who are somehow connected. Though, this being Grant Morrison, it does have a high quotient of "wait, what?" moments. (Also, some of the characters here say things that seem out-of-character, but necessary for the reader to get what's going on.)
The first volume of two part comic epic by Grant Morrison. 30 issues made up of 2 Bookends and 7 four issue mini series. It is a fantastic story spanning many eras, characters, and genre. Great plays on the number 7 and complete with references to Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. My favorites are Frankstein and Shining Knight. Zatanna is always a plus.
After a murky opening chapter, Morrison does a pretty good job of re-imagining four obscure DC superheroes. He keeps his meta-fictional tendencies and commentary to a minimum, and aided by quite good artwork, works up a pretty compelling quartet of story lines. And if you are thinking this is too good to be true, you are right. It all comes tumbling down in Book Two.
This is an attempt to relaunch several long forgotten heroes of the DC universe in seven separate series that have problems with one superarchnemesys and all tie up in one book. Some of the characters worked better than the others (I am not naming any names:). Nice art.