Thursday, 24 April 2014

Eternal Warrior, Volume 2: Eternal Emperor Review (Greg Pak, Robert Gill)

I won’t spoil the second volume of Eternal Warrior for anyone who hasn’t read the first one but I will say that it doesn’t live up to the first volume’s tantalising finale at all. Volume 2 is set in 4001AD and the whole point of doing that, I thought, was because “someone” was supposed to be set free in 2000 years after the events of the first volume so we’d get a showdown between Gilad and that “someone”. And, disappointingly, it doesn’t happen. 

In the 41st century technology has been all but erased and everyone lives in huts and farms all day long, entranced at seeing grain pour from a basket, apparently. But of course there are a few bad apples who enslave people using crude robots and live in ramshackle “cities” that look like bad props from ‘90s dystopian future movies. Powering places like these are unstable radioactive power sources which are poisoning everyone. It’s up to Gilad to leave his “empire” of a couple dozen huts and get a cure for his granddaughter (and, grudgingly, the 30 or so others he’s “emperor” of).

I appreciate that Greg Pak’s taken an unconventional route for the second volume by taking the story a couple millennia into the future but I expected at least one of the things he set up in the first book to mean something in the second, rather than none at all! His kids, the various natural groups his family are champions of, and of course that finale - none of that make it into this book so it feels like a completely different series. Basically you don’t need to have read volume 1 to understand volume 2. 

Eternal Emperor is a straightforward quest story with Gilad taking out every obstacle in his path without any problems all to accomplish the small goal at the end. At no point did I care much about his quest or about anything that happened along the way, and it felt like neither did Greg Pak. Gone is the great art of Trevor Hairsine and Clayton Crain, replaced with Robert Gill’s uninspiring, rather sparse and unimpressive art, so not even the look of the comic can make up for Pak’s lacking script. There’s not even an enticing cliff-hanger final page like in the first volume! 

Eternal Warrior Volume 2 is a total let-down. The main character is like the personification of the book itself: like Gilad as a world-weary old man, the story is totally lacking in any kind of energy or spirit and just plods along predictably and tiresomely until the final page. Just two volumes in and the series has already tanked!

Eternal Warrior Volume 2: Eternal Emperor TP

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