I can already tell what the first complaint about this issue is going to be… it’s moving too slowly. Personally, I don’t see that as a negative in this instance. Sure, it doesn’t work for every story/story arc, but the slow burn here is building up everything that Gilad goes through to be reborn. It should be daunting. It should be a challenge. There should be a lot of shit in his way. Why? Because then you know he’s for real. This story is adding so much depth to his character and by revealing what he goes through to be reborn, it really makes each of his deaths have weight. Now, it’s not a certainty that he’ll come back because it seems to be harder and harder each time. The issue opens with a flashback showing the time that Gilad was captured by the demon’s that inhabit the world outside of his paradise and that stand between him and the gate leading back to his rebirth. It’s a joyous read even though it’s dark, because it means that Robert Venditti has no plans to continue to dangle that carrot in front of us.
This becomes intercut between the present in which Gilad leaves his family one more time and is shooting and hacking his way through the hellscape. He’s racing through and making quick work of the demons, but he’s just not fast enough.
This series continues to be one of the best new series from Valiant. I sincerely hope that Venditti sticks with Wrath of the Eternal Warrior for as long as he’s stuck with X-O Manowar. The weight he’s added to this character is amazing. He’s not just Valiant’s “Wolverine” because there’s a real process he must go through to be reborn. And before you say anything, I know that Wolverine had something similar added to his lore, but let’s be honest they’re not going to hold true to that. That’s why I like what Valiant and Venditti have done here. It feels like a real element has been added to Gilad’s character and one that isn’t going to drop off just because someone figured out a new way to kill him or some other Marvely crap.
The art is gorgeous still. This issue has Raúl Allén who is joined again by Patricia Martín and the balance between them is great. I believe that they each handled one timeline, but really they’re styles blend so well together that unless you’re looking for it you’re likely not to pay attention to the subtle differences. The visual storytelling continues to be very strong on the series. There’s a moment in which Gilad’s wife is talking to him and encouraging him to fight on and it feels as if we’re seeing it in Gilad’s mind with him rather than just art on a page. The visuals are just blowing me away on this series and I hope that they’ll continue to have strong art on the series when it eventually switches.
It’s a slow-moving story for sure, but it reads incredibly fast. If you can be patient with it, you’ll see just how tight the narrative is. How detailed and resourceful the art is. You’ll see just how great it is to read a superhero story that isn’t lost to the “real world” or the film medium. Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is exactly what you should want from the superhero genre. I’m not saying all superhero stories should be exactly like this, but a lot of them doing similar things should certainly strive to be a bit more like Wrath of the Eternal Warrior.
Wrath of the Eternal Warrior #3 Writer: Robert Venditti Artists: Raúl Allén, Patricia Martín Publisher: Valiant Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/20/16 Format: Ongoing; Print/Digital