After finally finding a way out of his cell, Gilad embarks to face the labyrinth on his own terms. Can this dungeon’s overseer withstand the wrath of the Eternal Warrior?
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The first two issues in this story arc showed us Gilad in a position we aren’t always used to seeing. Disadvantaged and captive, he is used in some sort of hellish experiment regarding his immortality. Forced to die in all manner of ways, day after day for weeks, in an attempt by an ancient yet unknown foe to discover the secret of how Gilad rejuvenates after death. Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #9 picks up right at the cliffhanger ending of issue #8, in which our hero seemingly turns the tables on his tormentor.
Robert Venditti has been writing for Valiant for a long time. From his iconic (and lengthy) run on X-O Manowar, to his stellar event books, Armor Hunters and Book of Death, he has had quite some time to get truly acquainted with the Valiant Universe and its colorful denizens. It should come as no surprise that Venditti’s characterization is the star of this series. Venditti’s version of the Eternal Warrior is unquestionably my favorite. Which is a tall order, as throughout all of Valiant’s relaunch, Gilad has been one of the most enjoyable characters to read.
[easyazon_link identifier=”B01H5QLODS” locale=”US” tag=”bounintocomi-20″]Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #9[/easyazon_link] gives us the Gilad we saw back in Book of Death. The driven, pragmatic, and resourceful warrior that is more than confident in his capability to conquer any situation. It doesn’t matter how many times “Sovereign” kills Gilad. He is just going to get right back up and use whatever he learned to get a little closer to victory each time. Venditti’s Eternal Warrior is a man on top of his game, truly believable as a millennia old war hero that can never be beaten. Even the promise of an eternal respite with his family isn’t enough to make him stay down. Fans expecting any kind of resolution may find themselves disappointed though, as while this issue is a visual thrill ride, there are few actual plot developments.
Regular series artists Raul Allen and Patricia Martin continue to provide the art for this issue, and it is quite excellent. There is a minimalism present that is altogether beautiful. Instead of focusing on having every panel feature cluttered and overly intricate backgrounds, a good portion of the panels in this book display only a silhouette or close up of characters over a monochromatic background. This minimalistic approach really draws your focus in on the action in the panel, and aids in giving a sense of tunnel vision that Gilad seems to have on his quest. That isn’t to say there are no background environments for our hero to traverse as the labyrinth is as alien and colossal as you can imagine.
The way the artists play with saturation vs desaturation in the colors is nothing short of remarkable. The lighter blues will blend together only to be cut through by the stark contrast of Gilad’s deep brown wrist guards or the darker reds of some of the machinery and character’s blood. This lends itself to a sort of symmetry. Surely aided by the colors, but throughout all the artwork as well. Everything is depicted very concisely and orderly, nothing seems out of place. Even the panel layouts follow this very efficient and stylized approach.
Venditti and company continue to push the Eternal Warrior through his own personal odyssey in their own visually impressive way. There is no good reason for Valiant fans or fans of action comics to pass on [easyazon_link identifier=”B01H5QLODS” locale=”US” tag=”bounintocomi-20″]Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #9[/easyazon_link].
- Gorgeous and stylized art
- Excellent characterization
- Minimal plot development