Illustrators: Raul Allen and Patricia Martín
Art Assist: David Astruga
Add. Colors: Borja Pindado
Letters: Patricia Martín
This November, master storytellers Robert Venditti (BOOK OF DEATH, X-O MANOWAR) and Raul Allen (NINJAK) forge a new legend for the Valiant Universe’s immortal master of war with an all-new ongoing series in WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR #1 – featuring covers by David Lafuente (Ultimate Spider-Man), Marcos Martin (Amazing Spider-Man), Cary Nord (X-O MANOWAR), and Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT REBORN)!
After months of speculation, more than a couple of interviews, and an event series finally concluded, The Eternal Warrior is back with an ongoing book written by author Robert Venditti. This series directly references key plot moments from the events of Book of Death — making the aforementioned comic essential reading for fans trying to get a better understanding of the scope of the Valiant Universe. Reading Book of Death also gives context for the new status quota of Gilad explored throughout this first issue.
It seems that Valiant as a publisher now has a stronger sense of confidence in the fans knowing who their direct stable of characters are. A few years have gone by since the introduction of the Eternal Warrior during the company’s relaunch in 2012. When the publisher recently showed off a new take on Bloodshot with Bloodshot: Reborn, Valiant did so with confidence that the audience would be familiar with the character, and be interested in a take on the hero with a wildly different premise than what came before. If this first issue is any indication, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is a title that will be much in the same vein, as Robert Venditti and Raul Allen experiment heavily with the character of Gilad throughout the issue.
Having this sense of wild experimentation works in favor of the comic because the Eternal Warrior’s ongoing adventures previously can be simplistic at times. Even speech patterns are more complicated and experimental given the way the prose is written in the comic. In the preview pages from the publisher, fans can already get a sense of the rhythm of the prose within the the title.
In interviews, Venditti directly referenced time-displacement as a major factor of the story. This comic already toys with that concept in a manner that other Valiant stories have not — utilizing the fact that Gilad is a hero who virtually has unlimited experience in life itself. Characterization of the hero excels — Venditti is not only seemingly trying to change the character of Gilad through speech and status quota — but changing Gilad in a way that seems organic within the scope of his previous personality. The last series featuring the character was a bit tame in comparison to this new one with the word Wrath prominently displayed in the title.
A good portion of the magic here comes from the art of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin. Allen is assisted by David Astruga and Borja Pindado. Recently the publisher has been toying with adding multiple pencil artists to individual comics. In many cases, adding multiple pencillers to one single issue can feel jarring, displacing readers with the expectations of their stories. Thankfully Valiant has thought this through, adding multiple pencillers with similar art styles to this comic in particular. In addition, this comic has an extremely particular tone, the series serves as a hard reboot in the life of The Eternal Warrior on the backbone of something that massive that just happened in his life. Allen and Martin seem to understand what the script calls for and craft images that evoke those complicated feelings. Author Matt Kindt has always toyed with the time-displaced hero elements of the character in Unity that Venditti picks up on here very nicely.
This first issue is shrouded in mystery and seems to be setting the stage future confrontations in the series. The author took a big risk in coming out with a first issue that plays it cards close to the chest within the scope of an inaugural issue. So long as mysteries are revealed in time and the creative team is offered an extended opportunity to toy with the framework of this series, fans likely have nothing to worry about regarding the future of the title. As more issues start to come out, this is a comic that should appeal to readers in trade, as not having to wait for LOST-style answers and queuing up the next issue immediately will serve as great fun for the reader. Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is the kind of experimentation I have been waiting from Valiant comics with their stable of heroes. Robert Venditti, Raul Allen and Patricia Martin have crafted a narrative bursting with creativity and intrigue.