June 7, 2015

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Death Vigil #7 by Stjepan Sejic






















Written by Stjepan Šejić
 Art by Stjepan Šejić
Published by Image Comics (Top Cow)
Death Vigil is one of the best titles out there that you've never heard of. Even with a five month gap between the sixth and seventh issues, Šejić doesn't miss a step and returns on top form. This issue contains 24 ad-free pages of story that make you fall back in love with this world so quickly that you forget there was ever a break. We rejoin the Death Vigil after a loss that resulted in the capture of their leader (Bernardette) and the confiscation of their mighty Veilrippers. The remainder of Vigil attempt to regroup and come up with a new plan-of-attack to both rescue their leader and reclaim their weapons.


The strong familial bond that Šejić has created between these characters has already built up after just seven issues. They demonstrate a level of affection for each other that's unfortunately missing from most group books; you never want to see anything break them apart. As the team heads into uncharted territory in this issue, the stakes have never been higher and they are going to have to pull together like never before.
One of the Vigil's reluctant teammates is a necromancer called Heinrich who, at the end of the last issue, betrayed the team and turned a clear victory into a bitter defeat. Šejić has such a clear grasp on complex characterisation that he manages to quickly convert your anger into sympathy as you fully grasp the reasons for Heinrich's actions. The relationship between Heinrich and his daughter Mia is one of the highlights of this series; Heinrich is purely driven by the love for his daughter that it sometimes overcomes his common sense.
Every time an issue comes that has Šejić's art within it, it's destined to be something that you're going to be showing to everyone around you as you turn each page. There is one particularly innovative use of panels when exploring inside someone's memories that will breathe new life into your appreciation of comics as a medium. With the expressiveness Šejić is able to show even in low detail panels, there is bound to be information that you won't notice until you've read the issue multiple times.

The world that has been created within this series has been so precisely and meticulously put together that, every time something new is revealed, it only whets your appetite for more. The reasoning behind a Necromancer's actions has been hinted at in previous issues but is fully expanded upon within this chapter and is simultaneously more heartbreaking and disturbing than you would expect.
Despite the serious tone running throughout this issue, there are a few much needed comic relief moments that prevent this issue from becoming too heavy. When the newest member of the Vigil, Clara, phones her estranged roommate as part of her investigation, she doesn't exactly get the reaction that she expects.

This issue really is a welcome return for the creative powerhouse that is Stjepan Šejić. His passion for this series shines through clearly in both the art and the dialogue. While he previously announced an upcoming miniseries that would be followed by an ongoing series, the delays have likely hampered both of these ventures. Stjepan Šejić unfortunately fell ill and had to push his creator-owned series to the back-burner and focus on getting enough money to pay the bills. As a result, interest in the series waned and the number of readers declined.
In an attempt to revive the previous interest in the series, Šejić uploaded the first six issues onto his DeviantArt to read for free. Consider going over there and having a read through; you won't regret it. If you read the issues on DeviantArt and love them, share them with all of your friends and consider ordering the trade paperback collection when it comes out later this Summer. A series as beautifully crafted and shrewd as this one deserves a second chance to expand into the universe that Šejić has only begun to hint at.