Synopsis: Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, has fallen in battle many times at the hands of his enemies only to be resurrected by the Earth. This time Gilad enlists the help of his brother in arms Aric, the X-O Manowar, to send him again to the afterlife. He does this in the hopes that he may reunite with his estranged first born son who had been raised by a now defeated foe. Unfortunately, Gilad’s son, Kalam, no longer resides in the idyllic realm of the afterlife. Now the Eternal Warrior must brave the hellish landscape that lies beyond the peaceful borders to save his first born Kalam.
Review: In a series such as Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, the reader is often swept up in massive amounts of bloody conflicts. Issue 11 of this series is a departure from such tactics. Much of the conflict from issue 11 stems from how our hero has moved through the centuries, and what it has cost him. Gilad wishes to die again, and asks his comrade in arms the X-O Manowar to kill him again.
After the two exchange words, Gilad declares, “I will decide when my days of being the Eternal Warrior are through, Aric.” This statement emphasizes the lack of autonomy Gilad has endured for four millennia in service to the Earth and its Geomancers. Gilad has faced many hardships up to this point, and he truly believes that his reward, the reunification of his family in the afterlife, is within his grasp. Aric concedes to his friend, and he kills Gilad. This death scene is palpable thanks to the incredible art team on Wrath of the Eternal Warrior. The image is beautiful yet jarring all at once. The coloring alone makes the emotion resonate from the page.
Gilad returns to the afterlife to find that his troubles are not over. His son has gone past the boundaries of their peaceful woodland realm just as his father has. This causes an explosive moment between Gilad and his wife Leena. We realize that while he has done much for the Earth and humanity, Gilad’s family has suffered from his absence. That absence is felt more sharply in an existence that will last for eternity. Robert Venditi has done very good job at showing the different type of fight Gilad has to face in this issue. Normally, the dynamic we usually see is someone trying to balance their normal life with the superhero life. Venditi cleverly gives a new take on that with Gilad balancing his hero life with his afterlife. Viewpoints like really make this issue work; furthermore, when Gilad does leave the rest of his family to save Kalam, it reemphasizes the main idea behind this issue.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is a series that really demonstrates the level of talent over at Valiant Comics. Issue #11 does a good job of summarizing what has already transpired in the book, so the feeling of being lost in the story is minimized. And while this issue may not have delivered in the way of action, the character analysis and development arrived right on time.