Posted September 12, 2013 by Alvin Minon in Comics

COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Eternal Warrior #1

Bloody, brutal and just my type of action! The immortal warrior Gilad Anni-Padda transcends time and joins the ranks of Valiant‘s recent pool of superhero titles in Eternal Warrior #1. The title may sound cheesy to some, but damn this comic’s just filled with immortal badassery and butt-kicking.

The title itself’s big already, but pair that up with a superstar author and artist, Valiant’s got it good. For the story we have New York Times best-selling writer Greg Pak, best known for Batman/Superman and Planet Hulk (seriously, shame on you if you don’t know who Greg Pak is!). As for the art, Gilad and his adventures are brought to life by Trevor Hairsine (yes, Hairsine of X-O Manowar and X-Men: Deadly Genesis). With the superstar tandem plus covers from Hairsine, Clayton Crain, Dave Bullock and Patrick Zircher, I swear Valiant’s being ruthless here!

Eternal Warrior tells the story of well, the Eternal Warrior. Gilad Anni-Padda, also known as The Fist and Steel, a.k.a. The Leopard of the Plains(yeah, he has all those cool aliases), is an immortal who’s been around for six thousand years. The story opens with a battle somewhere in Mesopotamia where the hero leads his tribe against the Death Cult of Nergal. Imagine a Conan the Barbarian-Game of Thrones mix of action as Gilad, together with his son and daughter hack and slash battle- frenzied cultists that look like those guys from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, only super buffed up. The battle turns sour then the book takes us to the present, showing Gilad looking the same and living away from the battlefield, abandoning his duties as Fist and Steel of Earth for a quiet life of seclusion. By the end there’s this set-up for a big conflict catching up to our hero that seems connected to the past and the consequences of the skirmish with the cultists that didn’t turn out as planned.

The story of Gilad’s big and heavy yet easy to follow and immerse yourself into. The first issue could just stand on its own and it’s easy for new readers to jump in without any prior knowledge about Eternal Warrior or any of Valiant’s universe. Aside from the flying limbs and blood-splashing, this first issue tackles the harsh realities of war and the burdens of immortality. For someone who has written stories about Hercules and Hulk, Greg Pak’s experience and prowess shows here as he’s able to display his grasp of mythology and those angsty, burdened heroes. By Pak’s hand the characters are portrayed well, such as how Gilad exudes not only strength, confidence and toughness typical of an immortal or regenerating comic character, but also wisdom, intelligence and sense of justice.

Compared to how the story and script is, the art holds out on its own, too. Hairsine’s able bring readers straight into the thick of action as his panels are filled with fervor especially in the opening battle scenes. It’s clear that Hairsine’s got the knack of drawing the mystical and the chaotic warzones. His linework works well especially if we’re talking about Schwarzeneggers stabbing each other, jagged weapons, carnage and dusty battlefields. However, the art loses it’s light and fails to match up with the rock solid script when it reaches the scenes outside of the battle. There were parts where I felt that the emotion building up just got dropped off because of the art. I’d just hope in the next issues, Hairsine would put much attention to the facial work just like how he handles those juicy action parts.

Valiant’s done a great job with this title. If you’re interested in some no-cape superhero action (though Gilad sports some fancy hoodie-cloak), or ruthless beefcake action, or even surprising conflicts and twists, then this one’s for you. Pak handling the immortal warrior’s story is a sure killer already. And while the art kind of failed panels where there should be more emotional beat, I’ve seen Hairsine do better before in his previous works and I sure do hope he’d get into his rhythm for this title. Overall, it’s a big debut for Gilad this title’s already taken a spot in my comic list.


 Grab your copy of Eternal Warrior now! Visit the nearest branch of Comic Odyssey!

Alvin Minon