Wednesday, 14 September 2016

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, Volume 1: Risen Review (Robert Venditti, Raul Allen)

Spoilers ahead if you haven’t read Book of Death and are planning to. If you’re not, this one has a truncated version of that story anyway so you can get all caught up without suffering through that nonsense!

Gilad the Eternal Warrior bit the dust at the end of Book of Death and at the start of this book he’s awoken in Hell! He must battle demonic hordes to the safety of his family in the afterlife - but will his sacred duty as the Earth’s protector pull him once more back to the land of the living? 

Robert Venditti really isn’t doing well these days. He used to be one of my favourite superhero comic writers and now he’s consistently writing Valiant’s worst books! I have no idea what happened but Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is no better than Book of Death or Valiant’s flagship (and flagging) XO Manowar series. 

This is one poorly-explained afterlife. So did Gilad lose his wife and kids at the ages they are now and so they’re stuck at those ages forever? His kids don’t look like they all came from his wife either - they all have different skin colours and he sired them in different eras. So what happened to the mothers of these other kids? 

Also, does this happen every time he dies - he has to battle through Hell to Heaven/Purgatory, then back through Hell again to the gate/portal to Earth? It seems a bit laborious. If the Earth made him eternal, seems like it’d be easier to give him a healing factor like Wolverine rather than make him go through such Herculean labors. 

And his wife and kids don’t want him to go but he decides to anyway because he’s got to protect the world. Which I could understand in the past when there weren’t superheroes around, it was just him, but nowadays the Valiant universe is brimming with new heroes - couldn’t he take a well-earned death and let them take over? 

Anyways, the story in this volume isn’t that great. It feels like a long drawn-out prologue whose conclusion is inevitable. Gilad’s familial bliss is as mundane to read as his demon-slaying and the arbitrary boss fight at the end is unimaginative at best - “Humongous” (yes, that’s really the big bad’s name!) is essentially a D-list Diablo character, there to pose as a threat and go down before the end. 

Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is another unmemorable workmanlike effort from Robert Venditti - though I enjoyed his early Valiant comics, a good way of knowing which recent Valiant books to pick up would be to avoid the ones with this guy’s name on!

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