Writer: Robert Venditii
Artists: Raul Allen & Patrica Martin
The Eternal Warrior is one of Valiant’s most utilized and recognizable characters. While X-O Manowar gets the credit for being the publisher’s flagship title, Gilad could easily be described as the heart of the Valiant Universe. The character has been one of the main characters in the last two massive events for the publisher, and his relationship with the geomancers is often vital to the well-being of the rest of the characters. Unfortunately, while one can’t deny his importance, Gilad hasn’t gotten the quality title he deserves until now.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1 is a different kind of Eternal Warrior title. It leads the reader on to believing that the series will go on a different approach for the hero that won’t die due to his connection to our planet. Robert Venditti has written a more emotional Gilad, which is both unexpected and pleasant. This is a different side of Gilad that doesn’t involve him showing off his combat prowess all of the time. Instead we get a look at a hero who is paying a great price for his abilities, and makes quite a bit of sacrifices in his efforts to protect the geomancers. While we were led on to believe that this would be a hardcore, action filled title, this was actually one of the slowest debuts since the return of Valiant, and that’s not a bad thing.
The reader will be introduced to a few characters that are very dear to Gilad’s life. We see how they are affected by his constant experiences with “death,” and it is emotional and easy to connect with. Venditti offers an intriguing look at the Eternal Warrior’s life outside of Earth. Following the conclusion of Book of Death, the events of this issue are much more meaningful, and every emotional punch that the narrative throws at the reader is much more significant. The issue faces a few pacing issues, and almost drags at times, but the script is solid and effectively sets up the story for the long haul.
A huge reason for this debut’s success is the gorgeous art. This issue is easy on the eyes, Raul Allen’s pencils effectively convey motion as every gesture and emotion is well-captured. This is most evident during the softer sequences when Gilad is with family. The emotions are complex in Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, and the art helps to make that clear. The new world that surrounds Gilad is atmospheric and unique, and is a different take on the afterlife. Patricia Martin’s colors really complete the look with a rich color palette that makes the world come to life with incredible tones.