“Beware the wrath of a patient adversary.”
― John C. Calhoun
Following the events surrounding Gilad, The Eternal Warrior in The Valiant #1, #2, #3, and #4, and subsequently, the events that occurred in Book of Death #1, #2, #3, and #4, the announcement of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior was made. As fans of the character and series knew all to well, there was much potential for this title to demonstrate its namesake as Gilad, The Eternal Warrior had endured and suffered much in recent years (in such ways that effected the entire Valiant Universe). Veteran Valiant writer Robert Venditti was assigned to write the story, which is further carried the promise of well-known talent who understood the character and source material.
Venditti surprised readers, however, by focusing the story of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1, #2, #3, and #4 on furthering Gilad, The Eternal Warrior’s character development and expansion of his mythos. While there were certainly battles (most notably in Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #4), there many readers and fans asked the question; “where is the “wrath” in this story?” There is no doubt that Venditti needed these issues to prepare for what is to come (story-wise and within the Valiant Universe), and those first four issues accomplished that task while further providing readers and fans an well-executed original tale that they might not have otherwise expected. However, Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #5 sets the stage for a LOT of “wrath” to come. If there was any doubt about this title’s namesake, put it to rest, as Venditti has set the stage for Gilad, The Eternal Warrior to sharpen his axe and cleave a few bodies in all his wrathful glory.
Artist Juan Jose Ryp is hyper-detailed with his work, which is every bit as amazing as it can be overwhelming for some. It is his personal art style, and one where every possible facial line, tooth, strand of hair, toenail, and speck of dirt is provided. Each page is basically a small artistic explosion of detail, that exists within a larger explosion of detail, that exists within a book that explodes with more detail. If Ryp’s art was a bodybuilder, it would look like Kai Green (note: after a second look, this statement was surprisingly accurate!). His art work is the Mountain Dew Code Red (or Surge for those who remember that eXtReMe 90’s soda) of the comic industry right now; which is all to say that his artwork is 100% extreme and pretty much demands a mandatory health warning stating:
WARNING: PHOTOSENSITIVITY / EPILEPSY SEIZURES!
“A very small percentage of individuals may experience epileptic seizures or blackouts when exposed to Juan Jose Ryp’s hyper-detailed penciled and inked artwork. Exposure to Ryp’s rendered patterns or backgrounds on artist’s bristol board and/or the cover(s) / page(s) of published comic books may trigger epileptic seizures or blackouts in these individuals. These conditions may trigger previously undetected epileptic symptoms or seizures in persons who have no history of prior seizures or epilepsy. If you, or anyone in your family has an epileptic condition or has had seizures of any kind, consult your physician before reading.”
Ryp makes sure to capture each emotion, eye movement, and set of tonsils to ensure each splash page is as visually complete as artistically possible. It is quality, loaded with effort, stylistic, and recognizable. Ryp’s work on Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #5 is visually very different from artist Raul Allen’s on Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #1, #2, #3, and #4; however, this is simply a difference in style only, and in no way a drop in quality. As this issue begins a new story arc and new direction, it is the perfect point in the series to change artists to keep each page fresh, new, and original.
Colorist Jordie Bellaire has previously worked with Ryp on (highly debated and controversial) Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer #1, #2, #3, and #4 and clearly has developed a solid approach to bringing Ryp’s art to life. Bellaire has already worked on dozens of publsihed Valiant issues, mostly Quantum & Woody titles where she colored the work of artists Lee Garbett, Tom Fowler, and Ming Doyle; each with a reasonably traditional art style for her to work with, so Bellaire’s successful pairing with Ryp on Book of Death: Legends of the Geomancer #1, #2, #3, and #4 as well as Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #5 demonstrate a high level of her artistic versatility and adaptability.
Venditti, along with new cohorts Ryp and Bellaire, again provides a compelling story that is a good starting point for new readers, while at the same time enjoyable and rewarding for fans of the series.