Last year, the Christian rock band Skillet—John Cooper [lead vocals/bass], Korey Cooper [guitar/keys], Jen Ledger [drums/vocals], and Seth Morrison [lead guitar]—released their album Victorious, coinciding with the release of their first graphic novel, Eden.
This year, they took a similar pattern to the release schedule: new music and a new graphic novel. In September, Skillet dropped Victorious: The Aftermath,the deluxe edition to Victorious. In November, the band released Eden II: The Aftermath, a sequel to their first graphic novel.
Eden, the first graphic novel, ended on an enjoyable note with an opening for a sequel. Fans will enjoy the quick dive back into the story where the other one ended. Well, almost. If you haven't read Eden yet, check out our review. If you're interested in knowing more about Eden II, read on.
It's not clear exactly where Eden II picks up, but it's definitely not where the first one left off. This makes for some cloudy and slightly confusing scenes on the first couple pages as the reader tries to enter once again into Coltonville, the fictional town in which this story takes place. However, as the story progresses, the opening events become clearer and the older characters become familiar.
Though the artwork has changed slightly, Skillet's band members are still represented in the book. In fact, they even bring in some additional family members, including Alexandria and Xavier (John and Korey's kids) and Hilary (Seth's wife). I thought this was a perfect touch. Each role added a lot to the story.
Something else that stood out to me in this book was its detail-oriented nature. Fans of Skillet will laugh at the character so aptly named after them, Panhead. They will also enjoy the similarity of these characters to real-life people. Everything we love about the band members, including their individual personalities, was carried over onto the page. From their sense of humor to their love for others, it's clear that the characterization was well thought out.
The Themes Eden II has an intriguing storyline that revolves around fighting for family and watching out for each other. Skillet has also incorporated Christian values into the story: some abstractly led up to and some simply stated. There are two main overarching themes of faith and good versus evil; one of the things I loved most about this story is how they took these ethical principles outside of the box. Instead of a dull "Here is what I should do," there is an intense fight for "Here is what I must do." This difference is a result of the passion in the hearts of each character. It's what defines the novel.
The Action Warnings
The action-packed scenes draw the reader in and the conflict holds their interest until the very last page. That being said, there is definitely a warning for younger readers. Eden II contains many combat scenes that are quite violent. The characters often use weapons to defeat both monsters and other antagonists. This was unexpected given the clean nature of Skillet's music. One thing that I appreciated, and I'm sure many others will as well, is the lack of explicit language. There are absolutely no curse words in this entire graphic novel, a standard the band retains from their music.
Final Word Eden shared a clear message to the world. While we must wait to go to heaven, we can make that peace here on earth by accepting Jesus into our hearts. When we love others and fight for what we believe in, that faith spreads to others. Eden II: The Aftermath expanded on this and also added in the feature of faith when it's hardest. The significance of a graphic novel with this powerful of a message should not be undermined. "Dreaming of Eden'' is the song released with the first graphic novel; it boldly states this hope and serves as a great summary of the book: "All comes clear/We're waitin' for Heaven/ But Heaven is here."
Selena Schulz is NRT’s youngest staff contributor. She loves God, music, reading, and writing
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