“Engage people with what they expect; it is what they are able to discern and confirms their projections. It settles them into predictable patterns of response, occupying their minds while you wait for the extraordinary moment — that which they cannot anticipate.”
― Sun Tzu, The Art of War
From the start, Valiant Entertainment’s Wrath of the Eternal Warrior has been artistically quite different from virtually all other Valiant titles. The story itself, written by Robert Venditti, has also been a significant expansion of what is known about Gilad Anni-Padda, The Eternal Warrior; an original Valiant character and protagonist who has appeared in print for more than 24 years. In all honesty, it is highly likely that Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is not what fans and readers expected prior to the series launching in November of 2015 (with a Preview Variant provided during the 2015 Baltimore Diamond Retailer Summit in September of 2015). The vast majority of Valiant’s published titles have featured a visually different artistic approach, which may have well caused readers of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior to initially not be sure of what to think. Artist Raul Allen’s work was clearly quite good, but nothing like what had been seen before in Valiant (with possible exception of artist Paolo Rivera’s work on 2015’s The Valiant). However, time has proven Allen’s work on this series has been an artistic masterclass in comic book creation, existing with a quality that after re-reading the entire series, is truly remarkable and a testament to his skill.
With Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #9, Venditti sets the stage for what is certain to be a satisfying and epic conclusion next month for “The Labyrinth” story arc that commenced in Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #7. The story itself possesses a scope and depth that makes this series truly stand alone on its own. It is part science fiction, part horror, part supernatural, and incredibly well-balanced in terms of action, character development, and story progression. It is also a uniquely different story concept from much of what is produced in the comic book industry today, and as such an incredible opportunity to experience and enjoy something new and well crafted.
Allen’s work is simply incredible. No, he does not provide the photo-realistic art of Mico Suayan, nor is it the hyper-detail of Juan Jose Ryp. Allen’s work uses classic, simple elements to a magnificent effect, without ever once over doing it. From cover to cover, each and every panel has a purpose; depicting an amazing level of emotion, movement, and setting. Allen manages to literally capture the concept of “time” and “location” with absolute perfection. Viewing each panel, the movement and action are depicted so well that it almost appears animated, as if events are actually unfolding on the page in front of your very eyes.
Without question, colorist Patricia Martin (with art assistant David Astruga, and aditional colors by Borja Pindado) is a perfect match for Allen’s art. The mixture of blueish-greens off-set by shades of red provide a contrast and separation of elements that pull the reader’s vision exactly where they need to be.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #9 lives up to its namesake, and continues a tradition of excellence that this title will be remembered for. If you have time (or have not yet done so), take the opportunity to read the series from the beginning and up to this point. In doing so, it is quite possible that you too will see the genius and quality that is Wrath of the Eternal Warrior.