Robert Venditti, the first writer to ever grace the 2012 relaunch of the Valiant Universe with his writing talent is taking on a publishing icon in the upcoming ongoing series from Valiant entitled Wrath of the Eternal Warrior. The comic spins out of the Valiant’s newest event called Book of Death. The author is set to explore the life of the Eternal Warrior in different time periods. Venditti explained his take on the character in our exclusive interview with the writer on the upcoming title launching in November. With the comic close to publication that was formally announced at the #ValiantSummit back in June, here’s Venditti delivering his last words on the comic before release:
Comics Beat: Now that we are one issue from the conclusion of Book of Death, are there any new aspects of Gilad’s status quota that you can share in anticipation of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior?
Robert Venditti: I can’t go into too much without giving away big spoilers for the end of Book of Death, but I will say he’ll leave Book of Death having undergone a tremendous status quo change that we haven’t seen him encounter before. He’ll be facing adversaries we haven’t seen him encounter before in settings we haven’t seen him in before. It’s an entirely new look at the character in terms of what he’s going to be doing—a complete new jumping-on point. Book of Death is not required reading in order to come in with Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1, but if you have read Book of Death, it’s also going to build on that as well.
Raul Allen’s interiors tease a domestic PTSD-ridden outlook on life for Gilad. Is that a theme you will be exploring in the upcoming series?
We see Gilad in those early pages from Raul in more of a home life setting. That plays in a big way into the story because it’s very much a new look at immortality and exactly what it means for him to be immortal – what he has to sacrifice to be immortal in order to keep coming back and fighting. Gilad is a character who has been around for 5,000 years and has witnessed a lot of history, but has also amassed a lot of personal history as well. That’s some of what you’re getting a hint of in those early pages.
Speaking of Allen, what does he add to the series?
So much. It’s a great collaboration. What he’s able to do with the script and how he’s able to bring his own creativity and his own identity to the pages – it’s nothing I ever could’ve conceived of when I wrote the script, but in the best, most positive way. It elevates everything to a new level, and I feel very fortunate to be able to work with him. He’s a great guy once you get to know him, and I hope we’re able to stay on the book together for a long time.
Are you exploring aspects of mortality with Gilad outliving his loved ones in the comic?
Certainly. That’s some of the personal history aspect that I was referring to earlier. You know, if you think of the concept of immortality on its face, a lot of people would think that’s a great idea. But if you think of the personal relationships we’ve lost, loved ones that have passed away, mistakes we’ve made, regrets we have in our own lives—imagine having 5,000 years of those losses and those regrets and the incredible burden that would weigh on you. That’s definitely something we’ll address in Wrath of the Eternal Warrior.
How does Wrath of the Eternal Warrior interact with the greater Valiant Universe?
Gilad is one of the big characters in the Valiant Universe. He’s one of the top tier: X-O Manowar, Ninjak, Bloodshot, and the Eternal Warrior. He’s always going to be integral to what’s going on in the Valiant Universe as a whole, and I also think that he’s wholly unique. He’s an essential piece of that fabric because of the perspective he brings that no other character can bring. He’s always been a key piece and he’ll continue to be one.
Can you tease anything about the alien world that Gilad is stranded on as mentioned in the solicit?
Just to say that it’s a place that we have not seen in the Valiant Universe. But it’s also a place that Gilad himself is personally familiar with.
Do you see the series as more of a character study of Gilad, or is it more plot focused, or a mix of both?
I think the best stories in comics are both. It’s certainly what I strive for. In a monthly comic book, plot is very important in terms of how each issue is structured and how an issue has to work as a single unit, as part of a larger story arc, and as part of a larger ongoing series. Plot is always there and always important, but I always try to focus on character when I write, so I would hope that Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is successful in that regard.
What can readers expect from the first issue?
Some extraordinary art from Raul Allen. I don’t think there’s a single thing in that entire issue that a Valiant reader has seen before.
Could you tease any future story arcs or a return to 4,000 AD without giving anything away?
There will be lot of time-jumping going on in the series. It will be very much rooted in the modern day, but one of the great assets of a character like Gilad is that we’re able to hop into a lot of different time periods and a lot of different eras from history. And as was already established by Greg Pak and Robert Gill during the “Eternal Emperor” arc in their Eternal Warrior run, even hop into the future as well. I’m not necessarily saying we’re only going to hit 4001 because there’s a lot of years between the modern day and 4001, but Gilad has lived every day of it. It’s a huge canvas that we’re able to work with, and we’re going to have as much fun with that as we can, with all of it serving the storyline in the modern day.
Do you have any last words on the upcoming title?
It’s a story unlike any I’ve done before. It’s a huge challenge for me. I’m getting outside my comfort zone in a lot of ways, and we’re taking a lot of risks. I hope readers enjoy the results.
Here’s a lettered preview for the upcoming issue:
WRATH OF THE ETERNAL WARRIOR #1
Written by ROBERT VENDITTI
Art by RAUL ALLEN
Wraparound Cover by DAVID LAFUENTE
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | ONGOING SERIES | ON SALE IN NOVEMBER!
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 byDavid Lafuente (Ultimate Spider-Man), Marcos Martin (Amazing Spider-Man), Cary Nord (X-O MANOWAR), and Lewis LaRosa (BLOODSHOT REBORN)!