Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1
“Sometimes you’re not ready to give the world quite what it wants. And that’s okay, because the Earth is generously patient.”
Valiant Entertainment’s Eternal Warrior has been a pillar of the Valiant Universe since the character first appeared in 1992’s Solar, Man of the Atom #10. When Valiant Entertainment re-launched 20 years later in 2012, it was only a matter of time before fans were re-introduced to Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior (and “Fist and Steel” of the earth). The first modern appearance of The Eternal Warrior occurred in December of 2012 with Archer & Armstrong #5 (also the first appearance of Kay McHenry, AKA the Geomancer, and later (SPOILER) Deathmate), and was followed in September of 2013 by Eternal Warrior #1 (written by Greg Pak). That series lasted eight issues consisted of two story arcs; “Sword of the Wild” occurring in issues #1 through #4, and “Eternal Emperor” occurring in issues #5 through #8 (which introduced the modern Valiant Universe to 4001 A.D., that would later be the setting for Rai and War Mother).
This was followed in November of 2014 by Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel issues #1 through #3 (written by Peter Milligan), a visually stunning mini-series by an incredible art pairing of Cary Nord and Brian Reber.
One year later, in November of 2015 Wrath of the Eternal Warrior was released (written by Robert Venditti). This series was visually quite different from what fans had come to expect; however, it featured some of the absolute finest writing of any Eternal Warrior story to date and significantly expanded what was known of the character that is the Eternal Warrior with an average critic review of 9/10 from the start of the series until its brilliant ending in issue #14.
Now in the spring of 2017, Venditti has again taken command of this hero with his work on Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1. This is an ancient story occurring early in the Valiant Universe and also in the life of Gilad Anni-Padda. It contains a barbaric tone, with elements akin to Conan stories sprinkled with a touch of Game of Thrones. While the pace of the story is fast, the plot is fresh and quality. There is a restrained sense of wrath, with moments of release that indicate a mastery of warfare as only the Eternal Warrior knows.
Art is provided by the team of artist Renato Guedes and colorist Ulises Arreola. Guedes creates realistic characters with natural proportions, existing in settings that are visually recognizable and appropriate for this story. He uses a traditional comic art style to great effect, employing hatching and cross-hatching techniques to provide contours, shading, and depth. He does not overdo it, and leaves a significant amount of room for Arreola to work his magic and bring each page to life. Arreola uses directional lighting and gradient coloring to create a natural and lifelike appearance for the characters and setting. Lens flare color effects are visible throughout the book, which adds a layers of dimension.
Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 has an aesthetic that is perhaps a bit more visually familiar to long time readers and fans of the series. This is not to say that recent version of the title (drawn by Cary Nord and Raul Allen) were any less (both were artistically incredible). Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 is fast paced, violent, character driven, and exactly what the series fans are have been looking for.