Seven Against Chaos – Harlan Ellison

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Seven Against Chaos is a graphic novel written by Harlan Ellison, who in my imagination is a living myth somewhere between Isaac Asimov and Yahweh, with art by Concrete author Paul Chadwick. Ken Steacy helped out as well, and based on this book that is a name I’ll have to keep an eye out for.

Set two centuries from now in a time where human civilizations stretches over the entire solar system, seven misfits must travel to Earth’s deep past and use their unique skills to resolve a crisis that threatens to irrevocably change the face of history. Although not everyone survives, each member of the party is a distinctive character who gets their time to shine. They include a naive Amazon with claws for hands, a robot with an evolving sense of humour, and a cricket man. Ellison has written one of those rare stories where each page holds a new wonder to make you gasp, and although the Wow Meter never reaches Olaf Stapledon levels it still gets a lot higher than most other comic books.

One glance at the cover image above tells you Seven Against Chaos is packing some serious art. I like how it’s been coloured in, but I’m not enough of an art critic to explain exactly why. There’s a timeless quality about in, I could believe it was drawn anytime from the late seventies onwards, that complements Ellison’s somewhat nostalgic view of the future.

One thing bothered me about Seven Against Chaos; it reminded me a lot of the classic Super Nintendo role playing game Chrono Trigger, which was also about seven misfit time-traveling to save the world. It even featured a golden robot. To elaborate further the similarities on the similarities between both stories would be to spoil both stories, but it feels as though Ellison’s story bears the influence of forgotten Chrono Trigger playthrough in the nineties.

This is one for everyone who loves science fiction and comics, but I’d especially prescribe Seven Against Chaos to older science fictions who are looking for a way to get into comics but find superheroes impossible to take seriously.

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