I really had no doubt that this second issue of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior would be good. Robert Venditti has proven to be a consistent writer so it’s always pretty safe to say that if you enjoyed the previous issue you’ll enjoy the next issue. What I didn’t expect was to be so emotionally moved by this issue. To give away my opinion of the issue right away, I think the second issue is actually better than the first. The story begins in the past. As we’ve learned with the first issue, when Gilad is dead he’s sent to what I can only describe as his heaven. All of his children over the years are there and his dead wife. With that comes a lot of backstory and with this issue we learn about his wife and his child with her. It is a touching scene as he sits with her in her final moments.
Afterwards we go back to Gilad’s paradise and see him interact with his family some more. It’s again incredibly emotional and its made even more so by Gilad’s decision that he reveals in this issue.
This is a completely different beast to Venditti’s X-O Manowar. X-O is a political space opera ripe with social commentary, whereas Wrath is about a man that has lived thousands of years and the toll that takes on him. The line between duty and family and what it means to be the earth’s warrior. It has added so much depth to his character. After reading the first two issues it completely changes all of his interactions throughout the Valiant Universe which is an incredible feat. Seriously, go back and read the rest of Gilad’s appearances with this series in mind and you can understand why he gets so frustrated with Ninjak, Aric and Armstrong. He doesn’t change the character, he adds context that we were desperately missing and never even knew it.
With this story being so emotional the art needs to be every bit as emotional and it is. The art team on this issue start strong and end strong. There’s never a dip in the quality. There is a style maintained throughout the issue which suits the story. And the characters. Oh the characters. There is so much personality to them. Gilad has layers added to his personality from the artwork. The second half in particular is beautiful and flows nicely.
I really was surprised by just how much I enjoyed this issue. When I got to the end I was stunned to find it was over already. Just like the first issue it’s over just as you’re settling in for it to hit that next spectacle, but that will be what brings me back for the next issue. If you enjoyed the first issue, then know that Venditti and company stay the course and that course is really fucking good.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #2 Writer: Robert Venditti Artists: Raúl Allén, Patricia Martin, David Astruga Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 12/16/15 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital