Review - Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 (@ValiantComics)

"You have never been a farmer at all."

When you're immortal you tend to see a lot. And because you see a lot, you're forced to remember a lot which means you could forget other things. In Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 from Valiant, Gilad Anni-Padda forgets one of the most important things he can forget: who he is. The issue is written by Robert Venditti, illustrated by Renato Guedes, colored by Ulises Arreola and lettered by Dave Sharpe.

On the brink of carving out victory in the most violent battle of his life, Gilad Anni-Padda suffers a devastating injury. He awakens weeks later in a strange land, nursed back to health but with no memory of his past. A tribe has shown him compassion in an age of cruelty, and he will return their gift in kind. Now the real violence will begin.

Venditti's take on Gilad in Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 manages to make the character feel a bit more vulnerable than an era-transcending geomancer should be and that's a good thing. Gilad as a character in the Valiant Universe has always had an aura of invincibility about him and despite his newfound farmer ways Venditti writes the story to remind the reader that the potential is still inside of him. There's a lot going on in the issue as Venditti has to cram in Gilad's current plight, what got him here and the conflict he has to resolve by the end. This does cause some erratic pacing in the sense that because Venditti has to jump back and forth quite a bit things feel rushed at times. The issue is still fantastic and Gilad manages to remind the reader why he's earned his reputation.

Artwork in Valiant books is always top-notch and refined and the crisp linework of Guedes is quite stunning. He infuses characters with subtle details that allow the reader to really get a sense of the lifestyle the warriors live for instance. Those warriors are barbarians and the way Guedes draws their physiques is appropriate--it doesn't make them so massive that they look like Conan, but they can definitely hold their own in battle. In just about every panel Guedes draws the readers' eyes to the characters themselves, allowing them plenty of opportunity to stand out boldly and showcase their strength. Arreola's colors are a treat as well, making the characters feel like-like with rich skin tones.

Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 is a brilliant issue that gives Gilad a day off from being a geomancer in a way. Gilad has to remember who he is though, but by the end the reader is given all the Gilad Anni-Padda they can handle. Venditti's script is smooth and does a great job of rebuilding a forgetful Gilad's abilities. Guedes' artwork is phenomenal and fills every page with savagery. Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 does a lot of things right and is a reminder as to why Valiant is one of the best publishers around these days.

Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 is available now.