Valiant loves to have the opening of a comic end on a two-page splash with the credits and some kind of iconic imagery. It’s formula writing for sure, but this is not complaint about it. Because when the formula works and is used to its fullest each time, you shouldn’t have anything to complain about. The reason this is being brought up is because of “The Axe is coming for you.” The only dialogue on the two-page splash with the rest of the imagery being shattered glass. Granted it’s a bit different from the ending of the last issue, it’s as if the story has been backed up a few panels and re-written, but that’s okay. Because it’s cool as ice. Don’t get your hopes up just yet for this story arc. Robert Venditti (Writer) has set a trap for us. It’s not explicitly mentioned, but if you’ve been paying attention it’s likely a spoiler for you so consider this your only warning. Gilad must die again. Yeah, not much of a spoiler, but here it comes, to save his son. Again, it’s hinted at with the visuals mostly, but his first born son has left paradise and after seeing what Gilad goes through to be reborn again… his son doesn’t stand much of a chance. That’s all from three panels of this comic by the way.
The rest of the story is Gilad showing that he’s not some dumbass from the past. That he has learned and continues to learn over the years. As he says, “I won’t be killed the same way twice.” You’d think that our villain would be shitting his or her pants, but instead they’re just waiting. They’re waiting for Gilad to arrive and that should make you nervous because in a fight Gilad wins. So what does our villain have up their sleeve that’s left them so calm or is it that they don’t fear death, much like Gilad?
Venditti is writing a defining Eternal Warrior. The character has never been quite this good since showing up in the new Valiant Universe, but the amazing thing is that Venditti has used what all the writer’s on the character before have created and somehow included it in this ultimate version of the character.
The art team continues to deliver on the action, the gore and the heart. That opening splash page is one of the best that of the series. The scene in which Gilad fights twenty dudes just shows how badass he is, but then the Rambo moment at the end was just too good. That and the guy that catches a six-shooter in the face… hilarious and awesome. All of this is tied together by the coloring which makes use of specific hues for specific scenes. It’s well balanced and gives the book a sci-fi feel to it. As much as Venditti delivers on the story, the art team matches or passes him.
We never know what’s going to happen until next issue, but with some strong writing and a lot of breadcrumbs we can get a glimpse. This issue sets the stage for a very interesting tenth issue which may or may not wrap the arc. Whatever happens though, Venditti will likely continue showcasing why the Eternal Warrior is one of Valiant’s most beloved characters.
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