After discovering the new X-O Manowar and going back through the Valiant universe titles… I’m very near the point where if it says “Valiant Comics” on it, I’m going to at least try out an issue. Eternal Warrior: Awakening also is written by Robert Venditti, who as I mentioned in a review of Armor Hunters, wrote some of the best comics I’ve read in recent years. Add Artist Renato Guedes, who did some great work on the Superman/Batman book awhile back and is no stranger to valiant work himself, and you have quite the creative team.
One issue in, I’m happy to say, Valiant has killed it again. And I mean that with the best puns possible with the Eternal Warrior’s premise — an immortal man who fights through the ages. This is a book set in ancient times, where the Eternal Warrior has lost his memory from an old wound, having nightmares, a wife, a new life as a farmer. A Geomancer shows and reminds him of his history, and sets off a hero’s call to action. Those who are familiar with the Warrior and Geomancers from past Valiant books are already salivating for more, but for new folk, this is a great origin #1 issue set-up. I haven’t read the prior Eternal Warrior books yet, but am familiar with the character from Archer & Armstrong.
What impressed me about the book is that it has a full story in it. We didn’t meet the villain, have the hero brush his teeth and head out like a lot of comics do in their first issue. We have the villain. We have the hero setting out. We have the action. We have the conclusion and then there’s a set up for a larger story afterward. I compare this to Kindt’s X-O Manowar run currently — and with the two, I believe that Valiant Comics have rediscovered the “tell a story in a single issue but leave them wanting more” formula that made old comics great, and not material to wait for trades. I have to think it’s intentional on these writers’ parts, and I’m extremely happy to see it. Applause on that.
With comparing this to Valiant’s Manowar relaunch, I would say that if Manowar represents pulp sci-fi John Carter Warlord Of Mars in all its gloriousness, The Eternal Warrior: Awakening is Michael Moorcock Elric Saga in modern comic form. That’s about as high of praise I can give, and these books have both earned it in its own right. Eternal Warrior really is the pulp action-adventure fantasy that I’ve been craving out of comics for a long time.
The art’s great. Guedes does a wonderful job in expressions, figures, crowd scenes, having to draw camels (I like seeing cool animals in comics, +1!) fight scenes, all sorts of breadth here. The background gets a little lost at points which I’m guessing was a time consideration, and gets filled in with a little bit of aggressive coloring, but very minor complaint on that front for what is near perfect art to compliment near perfect storytelling.
I said last week that I think I’m in for whatever Matt Kindt writes from here on out… I think I’m there with Robert Venditti too. This is a great book and you should pick it up. Another epic win for Valiant Comics. 10/10