(Valiant Comics, 2013)
Review by Brad Gischia
Writer – Greg Pak
Artist – Trevor Hairsine
Colorist – Brian Reber
Lettering – Simon Bowland
I grew up with a great love of the classical hero. At some point my mom let me watch the Ray Harryhausen classic Jason and the Argonauts, and from that moment I was hooked. I watched 1983’s Hercules featuring Lou Ferrigno and loved it. So it was a natural progression that when I got old enough I would enjoy the Conan movies starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. All of this exposition leads to this review, the new release from Valiant Entertainment, Eternal Warrior.
As soon as I saw the cover art appear on the screen, I new that this would be right up my alley. It is a classically awesome cover, an homage to the old Conan magazines, featuring a painted cover of a muscled warrior slashing his way through several foes; a sword and sorcery cover if ever I saw one.
We begin the story with a look at the people of the Earth, a warrior tribe, readying themselves for the coming battle against the oncoming hoards of Nergal, the god of death. They face overwhelming odds but go forth determined to win; it is the perfect atmosphere to forge a hero.
Writer Greg Pak is no newbie on the comics’ scene. He has written for DC, Marvel, and Dynamite as well as owning several of his own titles. Here he has written for an interesting hero in Gilad Anni-Padda. He is the Eternal Warrior, chosen by the Earth, but also a leader of people and a father. It is a mix we don’t usually see in comics. What would a father, as an immortal, do as he outlives his children? How do you lead an army when your children are among those whose lives you put at risk? Another twist on this tale is that although Gilad is an immortal, he can still bleed, and we can assume as an extension of that, can still feel pain. Do you become immune to the fear of pain if you know it will not kill you?
The first book shows us the defeat of the Eternal Warrior, a betrayal by one of his own, and the death of those closest to him. But he lives on, and we see that he has survived the millennia and thrived by himself in Africa. Something is wrong though, and a face from the past appears to lead him back into the carnage he walked away from.
Trevor Hairsine has brought his distinct realistic style to this book, a style he used on the Valiant title Bloodshot to great effect. The art is perfect for the tone of the story, and the battle scenes and hand-to-hand combat have been fantastically choreographed.
What we have in Eternal Warrior is a tale of destiny, retribution, betrayal, and sword-slinging, gut-spraying fun. It is just another example of a smaller company throwing its hat into the ring, and proving that they too, can put out a great comic in today’s competitive market.
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