Review: Eternal Descent #1

Interview with Ace Masters

Eternal Descent #1

Posted 08 Apr 2010


Writer: Llexi Leon
Artist: Jason Metcalf
Letters: Charles Pratchett
Colors: Javier Tartaglia
Editors: Kris Oprisko
Publisher: IDW

 3.00 out of 5 Stars

Reviewed by Louis Vitela

I like to consider myself a well-rounded nerd: I like comics but I also have a deep interest in both philosophy and music. So when I spotted Eternal Descent at the comic shop I found myself immediately drawn in by the visual elements that made up the cover. It depicts a leather-clad goth girl who has fallen victim to a powerful evil entity, in a church of all places. But who is that swooping to the rescue? A buff angelic figure, all muscles and wings, and wielding (are you ready?) a black Les Paul-style electric guitar. The rock angel appears poised to strike a power chord that will undoubtedly end on a positive note for the good guys. Or maybe not: there is enough ambiguity in this same image that the observer can’t be sure whether the angel is showing up to strum a fuzz-laden hymn or to pulse the background music to metal-girl’s demise. It is this ambiguity that also drew me in.

The opening panel features the heroic angel standing astride the rooftop of a church, broodingly playing his guitar to a nighttime cityscape. When the angel spots trouble that only he can help with (a platoon of the Damned attacking a helpless female rock vocalist) the guitar never leaves his side and instead becomes the instrument of the demons’ destruction in action scenes nicely executed by the art team. Not long after, we are introduced to the chief bad guy, a demonic self-assured fellow who also has wings. I’ll take a leap and say he’s a fallen angel. (He doesn’t carry any instruments, but as he’s from Hell I expect he can hammer out a soulless, painful rendition of “Lady of Spain” on the accordion.) Although the character is so far a rather typical arch villain, his lines are well-written and he could be just what the composer ordered to make the hero angel a little less two-dimensional. Add to that a couple of surprise plot elements and I arrived at the final page of this first issue surprisingly pleased.

I was intrigued enough to read the interview with writer/creator Llexi Leon at the end of the issue, set among those back-of-the-book IDW pages that I usually leave for another day. Mr. Leon reveals that this is a story he — as a musician — attempted to tell in music alone and was disappointed with the results. As such he turned to the comic format and Eternal Descent the comic came into being. But the music portion is not forgotten: Eternal Descent is a comic that has a bona-fide soundtrack. And in the pages of Eternal Descent metal fans will be treated to on-paper cameos from the likes of Atreyu and Children of Bodom, among others. Adding some mettle to the metal, Mr. Leon managed to score partnerships with ESP Guitars and Marshall Amplification, two staunch figures of the guitar world. Any success Mr. Leon’s efforts enjoy may be an indicator that future music/sequential art team-ups should be explored. I have yet to meet a comic fan (or creator) who isn’t passionate about some form of music.

Although I had braced myself for a wade through a shallow sea of cliché, Eternal Descent proved to be deeper than I expected. But my real hope is that this book will draw a new audience to comics, an audience of musicians and music fans who are ripe to experience comics’ storytelling prowess and who will spend free time not only window shopping for a new axe but also hunting down their local comic shops for between-gig reading material.