“A happy family is but an earlier heaven.”
― George Bernard Shaw
Valiant Entertainment’s Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #14 is the final issue of an unexpectedly fantastic series which followed directly after the events of 2015’s Book of Death (written by Robert Venditti and featuring artwork by Robert Gill).
While Book of Death took place at the center of the Valiant Universe and involved multiple characters as part of large-scale summer event, the plot of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior focused on expanding the backstory and mythos of Gilad, The Eternal Warrior, his family, and his relationship with both heaven and hell in the afterlife.
It is a story where Gilad must battle with demons; both real and of his own design. His past sins haunt him, and greatly affect both him his family. This story also demonstrates to readers what makes Gilad so much more than simply a man with an axe. It teaches readers of the cost he must pay in life and in death, and strategic wisdom that both victory and defeat have provided him.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #14, written by Venditti, does a masterful job concluding the series and tying together all previous plot elements. While there is action (told in flashbacks throughout the story), the story focuses on character development and plot resolution between Gilad, his son Kalam, and his deal with the devil (Humongous). By the end of the final page there is a rewarding sense of closure with hope for what is to come.
Artistically, Gill re-captures the same traditional art style that he demonstrated with his work on Book of Death, employing realistic character proportions and classic contour hatching and crosshatching techniques to vary the density and darken the values while following the natural contours of each character’s body. There are also several splash and double splash pages in this issue that are worth a second look.
Colorist Mike Spicer enhances Gill’s art, having worked with him on several consecutive issues at this point. Spicer uses similar earth-tone colors to what Patricia Martin and Borja Pindado used on the first ten issues; however, he is able to use color gradation and shading for each panel from cover to cover. The result is a different art style than what was used by the art team of Raul Allen, Patricia Martin and Borja Pindado in previous issues, that contains a familiar feel for readers of the series.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior has been a master class in modern storytelling with a focus on the spirit and soul of a warrior. What writer Jeff Lemire did for Bloodshot with his title Bloodshot: Reborn, Venditti does so for Gilad with Wrath of the Eternal Warrior. It is a fantastic read from start to finish, and one that deserves to be in your reading library. If you have not yet done so, take the time to check it out. While the series can certainly be read on its own, reading The Valiant #1 through #4, followed Book of Death #1 through #4 prior to starting Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1 through #15 is a great way to start the new year!