Simons on Eternal Warrior, Valiant's Future

At Baltimore Comic-Con 2012, Valiant Entertainment announced the return of the Eternal Warrior in the pages of "Archer & Armstrong" #5 by Fred Van Lente and new artist Emanuela Lupacchino. The appearance of the Eternal Warrior will help kickstart the second arc of "Archer & Armstrong" as the publisher's "Summer of Valiant" books enter the end of their inaugural arcs.

The original Eternal Warrior was part of a trio of brothers that included Armstrong, the Eternal Warrior and Ivar, the Timewalker. While all three made a brief appearance in "Archer & Armstrong" #1, only Armstrong has been seen since, and the Eternal Warrior is bound to make a splash in his brother's life in a big way.

To shed some light on the announcement of the Eternal Warrior's return and the direction of Valiant's books moving forward, CBR News talked with Executive Editor Warren Simons, who spoke briefly about the state of Valiant at present, the impetus to bring the Eternal Warrior into the modern Valiant fold, and the direction of the Valiant Universe moving into 2013.

CBR News: Warren, readers got a brief look at Eternal Warrior in "Archer & Armstrong" #1 and now it looks like he'll be playing a role in the second arc -- what can you tease about his first appearance in the Valiant Universe?

Warren Simons: We have a really great setup coming. Eternal Warrior basically is going to try to kill Archer and the question is why. At the close of the first arc, we'll see why and that will set up the new issue #5. Armstrong is going to try to stop him because, as we'll see throughout the first arc, they'll become friends in the first arc and you get on the same page with a whole bunch of stuff. It's a really amazing, action-packed crazy issue where we have this near-unstoppable force trying to track down and kill a teenager and the question is why. That's ultimately what the issue explores.

What made this the right time to bring Eternal Warrior back into the Valiant equation?

We feel like he's an excellent character. He's the perfect character for this particular story that Fred [Van Lente] wanted to tell. Where we're going with the book after the first arc, what we wanted to do and the close of the first arc really helps seed his appearance here. It's really the introduction of one of Valiant's biggest characters. He's a key part to the mythology of our universe. He's key to what we're doing with the three immortal brothers, so we feel like it's a key part to what we want to go for.

Emanuela Lupacchino is coming on as artist beginning with issue #5 -- Warren, what about her art made you want to bring her on the book?

She's a fantastic artist. The associate editor for Valiant, Jody LeHeup, had worked with her at Marvel and we began talking with Emanuela. She's a very gifted artist and we felt like she would be perfect with this particular arc, especially where we were going with the rest of the arc, which I cannot mention anything about, or I'll get killed. We feel like it's a really great spot for her, we're giving her one of our key characters to work with, we feel like it's a great evolution of the book from where we started with the opening pages of the first issue to where we are now, and how that ultimately plays a key role within the Valiant Universe.

Obviously, the Eternal Warrior will make two out of the three Valiant immortals revealed with a larger role. Ivar, the Timewalker, is next in line -- anything in store for him?

Thats a very, very, very good question. I am not going to delve into it just yet, but I can tell you it's something Fred is chomping at the bit to discuss.

So much of what has happened so far in the Valiant Universe has been focused on world-building, but only a few of the staple characters in Valiant's library have gotten their own books. However, many characters, like Eternal Warrior, are appearing in other books first. What's the plan moving forward for introducing new characters? Will they launch new series or appear in other books first?

It's funny you should ask that. We just had our editorial retreat and we had Duane [Swierczynski] and Fred and Robert Venditti and Joshua Dysart up here. What's happening for the next three months, the next six months, the next year, I can promise you should keep an eye on "Bloodshot" #6. We've got some key, key developments coming in that particular issue. It's a really great question. How we introduce new characters and how we ultimately roll out the characters, but we've found we're really trying to tie it into the core elements within the universe, the key points within the universe, the key points within the story itself. We're going to be seeing a lot of that coming up in "Renegades," which is the next arc in "Harbinger." We're going to be seeing it in the next arc of 'Bloodshot' and we're kind of moving to a point where the strength of the Valiant Universe is going to be playing off of itself. So, you'll see more characters interacting with them. The same way we introduced Ninjak in "X-O" #5 because we felt like it was a logical point in the story, we feel like the Eternal Warrior's going to be in issue #5 of 'Archer and Armstrong' because we feel like it's a really key moment in the universe. It's really going to be a very important element. We're not just throwing the characters in randomly, we're really trying to make sure it's an essential moment when we bring them in and there's a real purpose behind what's happening. I think we'll be seeing more of both in the coming year.

The Summer of Valiant is almost over and most of the first arcs of the launch books will conclude by the end of the year. If the first stage of Valiant was about world-building, what's the focus going to be for the coming year?

I think we're looking to continue to expand the universe and ramp up and tell amazing stories that feature key characters. I think it's also a chance for us to tell stories the original Valiant Universe never had a chance to tell, to really explore what we're doing in a different direction with a whole bunch of the characters. I feel as we're beginning to ramp up and introduce Ninjak, introduce Eternal Warrior and to begin to build Peter Stanchek's team in "Renegades" and you take a look at what's happening in "Bloodshot," the next five issues are going to be incredibly important to what happens in the universe for the next year. What happens in "Bloodshot" in issues 5 through 9 are really going to be critical to where we're going for the next year. I think we've got a lot on the plate.

Stay tuned to CBR News for more on Valiant's upcoming plans.

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