While I want to like 7th Sword #3, it does so much to convince me otherwise. In between tired tropes, barely touching its science-fiction routes or just plain dialogue, there is little to capture and inspire here.
The official description from IDW:
As the warlord Kavanaugh gathers his army of cyborgs, mutants, and assassins, Cray must find a way to defend ZenZion using the limited resources available. But how can one disgraced warrior train an entire citizenry to defend itself without molding them into cold-blooded killers in his own image?
The main part of this issue is a long, lengthy training montage. Honestly, if you’ve seen any cheap martial art film there isn’t much else to see here. The teacher reduces a large group to a select few etc etc, throw in a few training shots and you really don’t need to pick this issue up to know what you’ll find inside. When you have such an overused story you should rely on your unique setting and, for some reason, 7th Sword #3 chooses to do the opposite of a good idea.
This isn’t to say the dialogue is badly written, but John Raffo is doing nothing to provide anything unique and interesting. The main plot is about training, a less than subtle romance and even a ball dancing sequence. The only unique elements are simply refereed to, or Raffo passes the duties onto the artwork to show something impressive in one or two panels.
Visually, Nur Iman offers some great pencils, but even these outlines can’t cover up a bad story. Similarly, Douglas A. Sirois adds a likable range of colors to the issue but this art style has to pull more than it’s fair share of the weight, which is a shame considering the effort that’s gone into it.
In short, this issue is a big disappointment. Words like generic often come to mind and I really hope the creative team finds a way to bring new life into the series or it may disappear sooner than expected.