Valiant Comics’ Eternal Warrior series is one that I’ve been meaning to read for a few months now, ever since I started really getting into the publisher’s team book Unity and then recently with the whole Armor Hunters crossover. Gilad is a character that I really like reading about and even felt that he was somewhat underused in the recent crossover. He’s kind of been the rock of Unity since the team’s inception last year and both Robert Venditti and Matt Kindt have done some nice stuff with him. All of which makes me feel somewhat guilty that I’m not following Eternal Warrior, but then I guess now I have the perfect alternative.
Peter Milligan and Cary Nord have kicked off a new Eternal Warrior series this past week with Brian Reber and Dave Sharpe. Titled Days of Steel, this series looks at the character from his days in medieval Europe, specifically the ages of Magyar domination across much of the land. This is quite an introspective book that really focuses on who Gilad Anni-Padda is as a character and I loved that deeper look into his character and his psyche. And it goes without saying that Cary and Brian turn out some really great visuals, with a painted look to them, and that the art alone is worth the price of admission.
As someone who is moderately aware of who and what Gilad is, Peter’s new series proves to be a great new jumping point. In a few short pages, Peter gives a good account of Gilad’s bloody history and also establishes some of his supporting cast, both old and new. The new series is focused on Gilad being the hand of destiny in making sure that a prophecy comes to fruition for the Franks, who are being systemically exterminated by the Magyars. How Gilad plays a role in these events is not laid out crystal clear in this issue, but that’s fine. I look at this as an introductory issue, where we are made familiar enough with the characters that we are ready to come back a second time and for me, this issue worked perfectly.
Being a warrior from ancient times, Gilad has seen much, done much, regretted much over the years. From the start of Days of Steel #1, he is someone who is tired of his immortal life where he cannot get a moment of peace. There’s always something that needs to be done, some deed he must perform to keep the Earth alive and kicking. And he just wants to give up on it. It creates a perfect point of entry for a new reader, and even an older reader I dare say, and it got me to instantly connect with him. I’ve seen Gilad all through Unity and even Armor Hunters so I understand perfectly what he is going through.
Peter’s work for me has always been interesting. I don’t have much experience with him beyond what he did on DC’s Justice League Dark and Red Lanterns, and something else that I’m totally forgetting right now, but I’ve always liked what he did. His run on Red Lanterns in the New 52 made that title a must-read for me at the time, though I admit that it has been almost two years since I read that title now. Still, his name is what drew me to this title in the first place, so the credit definitely goes to his writing.
And he is pretty phenomenal here. The whole thing with the prophecy and its execution didn’t work so well for me, but I’m waiting to see how it all plays out since such stories are notorious slow burners. Hopefully Peter can twist that around.
Cary Nord’s pencils and Brian Reber’s colours are absolutely fantastic here. The painted quality to the artwork lends itself well to the kind of story that Peter is telling and I enjoyed every scene with Gilad. He has a… presence and the artists are able to capture that. And the action scenes, well, they are something else too. Speed and ferocity in equal measure that really get across how skilled a man Gilad is, given his endless years of experience in the art of killing. And the period scenes, involving the fights between the Franks and the Magyars also strike me as rather authentic, helping to pull me further into the story.
One of the best reads of this week for sure!