Valiant, one of my favorite comic publishers, released their newest series this week: Eternal Warrior. Starring Gilad Anni-Padda, younger brother of Aram (aka Armstrong) and Ivar (aka Timewalker), this story focuses on a man who’s trapped in wars for over five millenia. Writer Greg Pak (of Batman/Superman fame) and artist Trevor Hairsine join together for Valiant’s newest series. With Gilad playing a pivotal role in X-O Manowar and the upcoming Unity, this was an issue I just couldn’t pass up.
Eternal Warrior #1 starts several thousand years ago in ancient Mesopotamia where Gilad and his comrades stood against the forces of the dark god Nergal. The harrowing battle is only one of many Gilad fights across his immortal existence. In the present, however, Gilad has retired to a life away from the wars of the world. When a visitor he has not seen for a few millenia reappears, it seems Gilad will be thrust back into combat whether he wishes it or not.
Greg Pak is a solid writer and brings a great voice to Eternal Warrior #1. The internal monologues he writes for his characters are great, as are the pieces of dialogue littered throughout the story. For a first issue, there is very little exposition, perhaps assuming people have read about Gilad in other Valiant titles (like Archer & Armstrong and X-O Manowar) or perhaps that his story is straightforward enough to jump into. I’m still mixed about whether or not I feel the story should’ve been more exposition heavy, but a bit more introduction wouldn’t have hurt the narrative. I also felt like the pacing of this story was very choppy, telling two seemingly separate parts of Gilad’s life in the same issue. I think I would’ve preferred if the first section was shortened a little bit to give more attention to the latter half.
Trevoir Hairsine’s art for Eternal Warrior is a mixed bag. While the animals he draws look amazing, his human figures sometimes appear sketchy and awkwardly placed. The battle scenes are exciting and frenetic, but at times feel somewhat cluttered. This is probably more realistic when it comes to ancient warfare, but it makes the panels feel cramped. Colorist Brian Reber does great work, using a muted palette with splashes of spot color that strengthen the artwork overall.
Eternal Warrior #1 is a book I expected to love, but in the end I thought it was just decent. It’s not a bad comic, but I felt like there was something missing given all of the hype surrounding the comic. I know Pak and Hairsine have great creative skill, but it just wasn’t on display this time around. It’s difficult to judge the merits of a series based on its first issue, so I’m willing to stay with the series for another few issues. I also wish Pak indicated when this takes place in relation to the rest of Valiant’s tight continuity, but that’s me nitpicking more than anything else. Ultimately, I’d say wait and see if the next few issues are good before diving into this one.
-great character study of Gilad Anni-Padda
-well-written dialogue and internal monologue
-excellent animal designs and coloring
-first half of the story drags, second half feels rushed
-artwork sketchy and cluttered
-no indication when this falls in Valiant continuity
Brett Simon is a twenty-three year old comic enthusiast. These days he feels more like the Eternal Worrier.
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