Valiant has brought on writer Greg Pak (INCREDIBLE HULK, RED SKULL) to work on their new book ETERNAL WARRIOR, featuring artist Trevor Hairsine. This, in a sense, is a spin-off of ARCHER & ARMSTRONG, that will be its own stand alone title. Writer Greg Pak answered some questions about the book and what readers can expect from the series.
COMIC VINE: How did you land this opportunity to write this book?
GREG PAK: I got a call from editor Warren Simons, with whom I'd worked years before on the "Magneto Testament" miniseries, which was one of the greatest experiences in my creative career. Don't tell Warren, but I pretty much would have said yes to any gig he was offering. When you have the chance to work with the best, you jump on it.
CV: What was your experience with Valiant and its characters prior to this job?
GP: Full disclosure: I missed most of the Valiant books the first time 'round. That happened to be a time when I wasn't buying that many comics on a monthly basis and the Valiant books slipped through the cracks for me. But I'd been following the relaunch pretty closely because I was interested to see what Warren was up to and because my buddy, the great Fred Van Lente, was writing the brilliant "Archer and Armstrong" relaunch.
CV: You and ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG writer Fred Van Lente have both worked together in the past (INCREDIBLE HERCULES). While you're both working on separate books this time, it's two books closely related to each other. Are you both in communication with each other for these books? If so, what is your process working with him to make sure continuity doesn't get jumbled up?
GP: Fred and I talk all the time -- we're actually working on totally different, special, super-secret project right now that gives us tons of reasons to bug each other on a regular basis. So yes, if I ever have a question about current Valiant continuity he's established, I pick up the phone or shoot him an email. I'm pretty shameless about it, too -- I'll email him about stuff I could just google, just because I know he'll have a nuance or spin that's good for me to hear.
CV: What can you tell us about the story for ETERNAL WARRIOR?
GP: Gilad Anni-Padda is an immortal warrior who's spent the last few millennia following the orders of sorcerers known as Geomancers to protect the interests of that mystic entity known as the Earth. When you're relatively young, fighting for the Earth seems like the greatest life mission you could have. But over the ages, Gilad has fought war after war. He's seen civilizations rise and fall. He's literally killed thousands. And yet nothing really seems to change -- there's always another battle to be fought for reasons he never full understands.
Maybe more importantly, Gilad's just a man like any other. And he's seen everyone he's ever loved grow old and die. Immortality sounds fantastic until you've been at it for a few thousand years. And then it starts to break your heart forever. So as our story begins, Gilad has checked out -- abdicated his role as the Sword of the Earth. But it's never quite so easy to walk away from your mystically ordained destiny -- particularly when you might have a couple of savage immortal children walking the planet waiting for the right moment to throw the world out of balance.
CV: From the preview pages we've seen, Gilad is alone, angry. Is this book going to be a bit more nomadic in style?
GP: We're jumping around in time as we tell this story, so you'll see Gilad at a few different key stages in his life. And while he might want to be left alone as the story begins, the books really an exploration of a number of key relationships in his life -- which I guess is what stories about loners always end up becoming, right? ;-)
CV: On the Archer and Armstrong timeline, where does your book took place?
GP: The first story takes place before Fred's first story arc. We're telling the untold story of where Gilad has been and what brings him to the modern day Valiant Universe.
CV: Which familiar faces will we be seeing in this book?
GP: Gilad Anni-Padda, the Eternal Warrior, natch, and the previous Geomancer, Buck McHenry. And then we're creating a slew of new characters that I'm ridiculously excited about. We're also exploring the mysterious forces behind the scenes of the Valiant Universe. I'll just say the Earth isn't the only strange entity with an interest in the workings of our world.
CV: We haven't seen much of Timewalker yet in the Valiant Universe. What role will he have in this book, if any?
GP: He's Gilad's brother, so he'll most likely show up in the fullness of time. But we're not rushing into it. We have a pretty huge tapestry to work with right now, and Timewalker's such a great, mindbending character that I want to be sure we have a great story for him when we finally use him.
CV: How much of Gilad's past will be explored in this book?
GP: It's looking like we'll explore key moments from Gilad's past in every single issue. When you're dealing with an immortal character, the past is a treasure trove of great stories, and we're finding fun and evocative ways to use the past to illuminate key turning points in Gilad's present day struggle. It's a huge amount of fun, both because of the emotional depth it helps create and because it gives us the chance to explore a huge range of time periods and settings.
CV: What's it been like working with Trevor Hairsine, who's uncolored work looked pretty awesome?
GP: Trevor's amazing and I feel hugely lucky to have been paired with him. He's actually just signed an exclusive with Valiant, so I'm kind of cackling over here thinking about the potential for settling in for a long stretch with him. He's just perfect for the gritty heroic adventure tales we're telling. He's brilliant at big, comic book action, but he brings a kind of visceral atmosphere and reality to his characters and environments that's just critical for a character like Gilad.
CV: Valiant's new books have all been very accessible to new readers, but this is a character that's already appeared in numerous issues of ARCHER & ARMSTRONG. Is this a book that's going to be as new reader friendly as the rest of the series at the company?
GP: You bet. I'm pretty new to the Valiant Universe, myself. It's pretty important to me to write a book that anyone can pick up and run with, and I think starting before the current "Archer and Armstrong" stories lets us build our character and world up step by step in a very accessible way. At the same time, we're delving into Gilad's past and future in ways that we're hoping will be pretty darn exciting for long-time Valiant readers. We're shining some light into some dark corners of the universe and what we're uncovering may just challenge everything you thought you knew in the best kind of way. Dontcha dare miss it!
CV: Why should readers pick up ETERNAL WARRIOR?
GP: Heroic adventure. Visceral action. Gorgeous art. Insane worldbuilding critical to the Valiant Universe. And high stakes emotional drama in which a father and a daughter drive each other to the brink with the world itself in the balance.
Thanks to Greg Pak for taking the time to answer these questions! Below, you'll find a preview for the first issue which hits store shelves on September 11th!