Recommendation/Review - Se7en: The Graphic Novel *movie spoilers*


Well-Known Member
Oct 23, 2005
Toronto, Ontario(by way of the Kepler Verge)
So I saw the movie for the first time about four months ago and was stunned and was on-and-off fascinated with it over the course of a few weeks. I then found out about the 7-issue mini-series that Zenescope Entertainment had done and released in 2006. I tried to find some of the issues at a few CBSs, small and major, but eventually just ordered the hardcover from By the time it came I was already too far into Iron Man to appreciate it so I saved it for later. This month I read it over the course of the week leading up to Dark Knight(since, as DSF says, Se7en takes place in Gotham and all).

Each of the seven chapters focuses on one of the seven victims in the movie, in order, and the events leading up to and surrounding their murder. The entire saga is mostly told from the perspective of John Doe, as he reflects casually, obsessively, brilliantly and insanely on what he thinks each of the sins in question mean and how they've affected his life and the lives of those around him.


Each issue is done by different artists and the styles range from standard modern comic book art to Dave-McKean-type-Arkham-Asylumish photo-y nightmares to full blown emotional impressionism. The variety really adds to the feel of the thing as a whole and most comic fans favourite styles are probably represented at some point or another.


Story and structure:
It's about 90% a first-person narrative told by John Doe, sometimes just thinking out loud and others passionately speaking directly to "the Lord", often in the form of journal excerpts. Each issue actually contains a full two-page spread of pages from John Doe's journals(the ones the cops find 2,000 of in the movie) in which he furiously rambles and waxes on the sin-of-the-issue. The book starts out fairly straight-forwardly showing the fat man and greedy lawyer Eli Gould blatantly enacting their respective sins in real life and then being attacked by Doe and gruesomely murdered.... you know, the stuff the movie had the good sense not to show directly. For these first couple issues, it's fairly unsurprising, albeit engaging, stuff that's mainly worth it for John Doe's excellent, fascinating narratives and journal pages. As the story goes on, though, it begins to branch out. Doe's personal tendrills through all this become more and more clear as flashbacks to earlier points in his life, from childhood onward, begin to appear. I went in dying to know how they were going to be make me sympathize with possibly the most blatantly vile movie villain... ever. I came out moved.



What it all depends on, though, is what you want from the movie and the character. I can easily see that some people prefer not knowing anything about Doe, where he came from or, as Morgan Freeman's Somerset asks, who he really is. Personally, I very much enjoyed that in the movie, and I made the most of it, and I explored and savoured that angle plenty. But after that.... I still had to know, and wanted to know. If you do to, I highly recommend this book. It's the most engaging thing I've read in a while and probably one of my all-time favourite character studies.


Very compelling, full of surprised and the journal pages are some of the most unusual and interesting things I've ever seen in a comic. If you liked the movie, I definitely recommend checking this out. Worth a buy if you're the type who likes to re-read really complex and artistic things over and over again. I also recommend re-watching the movie shortly before you start this. If you've NEVER seen it, definitely do so first because there are parts that would make little sense on their own.
Interesting. I didn't realize that it was a kind of "prequel" to the movie. I did not read the issues.

I might have to pick this up.
I read about this, and am really interested, but it's low on my priority of comic buys at the moment.

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