Immortal warriors. Brutal Combat. Mythological stories. If any of those words catch your attention, you're going to want to give Valiant's latest book a shot. Previously seen in ARCHER AND ARMSTRONG and X-O MANOWAR, Gilad Anni-Padda aka Eternal Warrior now has a book all to himself. Written by Greg Pak, this opening chapter serves as a great introduction to the character. No, Gilad isn't just another unstoppable, badass warrior -- he has far more depth than that (though those traits certainly don't hurt, either). This issue is a solid insight into the interesting character, showing how he loves battle, yet as you'll see, is also a man driven by morals and is even a selfless leader. The character is filled with potential and in Pak's more than capable hands, I'm excited for what's to come.
Pak wastes no time throwing us right into Gilad's life and the events are wonderfully paced. We're spared pages upon pages of exposition and we're thrown right into the middle of what feels like an epic story. Instead of focusing on the minor details surrounding this battle, the spotlight is placed on who Gilad is and a critical moment with his loved ones. It's a superb way to introduce the character and even though he's appeared in other Valiant books, it's 100% new reader friendly. In spite of being a rather bloody, dark and emotional issue, Pak's sharp script has a few surprising moments of levity as well ("Follow the crazy girl on the elephant!"), including Gilad's very first line
Trevor Hairsine is definitely the right artist for this book's atmosphere. His work is gritty and rough, making the grand action scene visceral and intense while still being able to sell the facial expressions in the far more emotional and compelling instances. While the opening battle is grand in scope and impressively vicious, I found myself more attached to the scenes which followed. They were somber and able to capture some amazingly cinematic moments. Brian Reber does a commendable job with the colors, too. The opening battle is surrounding in darker and gray shades, giving off the unclean feel of the violent war taking place and making the gruesome bloodshed standout even more. The use of vivid colors in the later scenes -- particularly the sun -- are fantastic and a great contrast to his past, further illustrating his new direction in life.
Throwing us right into the middle of things was a good choice overall, however it did slightly take away from the emotional punch in a very important moment.
Minor gripe: the distance between eyes feels like a bit too much at times.
Despite being 23 pages long, this issue felt like a super quick read and that just goes to show how thoroughly entertaining and gripping it is. When I was hit with the last page, I immediately wanted more. ETERNAL WARRIOR #1 is action-packed, well-written, and overflowing with potential. Yeah, you can bet I'm sticking around for the next issue and I strongly recommend you give this a shot, too. Consider this another victory for Valiant.