Eternal Warrior is quickly revealing itself to be a cyclical book for me. What I mean is, I keep shifting on whether or not I actually like it. I started out not loving it, then I did, and now it’s veering again into relative dullness. Interestingly, its title belies the consistent longevity of its enjoyment. But can it be saved? In its seventh issue, Gilad has led his new kingdom away from the nuclear-poisoned city in which they used to slavishly build robots, in an attempt to cure his granddaughter and the rest of his “people” of their radiation sickness. This leads him on an adventure through robotic wolves, mutant bears, something called “The Death Cult” and stockpiles of futuristic weaponry.
This book has become something of a wondering minstrel, but one that has the potential to become aimless, with Gilad jumping from town to town to either help or more likely threaten people, and then lead them with his great and undying wisdom, and one of his many pointy things.
It’s still good, but the formula is now getting a bit stagnant and it doesn’t show any sign of stopping. It’s pretty much a given, for example, that he is going to march (again) to another decrepit facility forgotten by Man (again) and save/stab stuff (again). I’m not saying he doesn’t do it well, but he does it a whole hell of a lot, and my interest in this lather/rinse/repeat storytelling is beginning to wane.
Another annoying thing is that this world doesn’t offer much (if anything) in the way of an interesting or imaginative alternative to any other post-apocalyptic wasteland. Hidden bunkers from yesteryear, semi-sentient metal dogs, giant robots ... I mean, how many times have we seen this kind of thing play out before in other stories?
I think what Eternal Warrior desperately needs to do is to get back in touch with the mythology that made it stand out as its own individual story. I want to see this “Year 4001” landscape define itself differently now that it has established a sort of familiarity with the reader. The one thing that is promising is that this Death Cult bodes a reunion with Gilad’s erstwhile son, which could bring everything back to the series’ first arc before the jump. I, at least, think it’s high-time that we began learning more about what happened in that gap.
What continues to be pretty great is the evolving nature of Gilad’s so-called granddaughter, Caroline, in that it is ... troubling. Her obsession with killing folks and getting her mitts around a shooter this issue offers a bit of insight into the loins from which she most probably sprung, and it’s again interesting to see Gilad treating her differently; this time, nurturing that aggression, rather than attempting to temper it as he once did his daughter, who remains conspicuous by her absence.
The art here from Robert Gill is solid, but it did feel rushed. Backgrounds were sparse, action was clunky and it doesn’tt look as good as it has in most issues previous, which is really a shame. There are still a few cool visual moments, like Gilad’s felling of a robo-pup, but they are staggeringly few and far-between.
I’m still on-board with Eternal Warrior, but it needs another status change to mix things up again, like that which brought us to 4001 in the first place. I am hopeful that the creative team knows this and is setting something up for next issue. If not, then unlike the titular character, this is going to have a very short life indeed.
Writer: Greg Pak Artist: Robert Gill Colorist: Guy Major Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 3/26/14