Valiant's last crossover event, the Book of Death, ended with Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, making the ultimate sacrifice in his defense of his charge, the Geomancer (protector of the Earth). Now, writer Robert Vendetti and artists Raul Allen and Patricia Martin explore what happens to the Eternal Warrior when he is essentially between worlds, what does he have to sacrifice to continue his, well, eternal war? The result is a compelling character study complete with moody artwork by Allen and Martin that sets the new series up well.
Our series opens with Gilad in a bizarre dark world, where Allen and Martin really draw out the dread of the environment...
before showing us what is Gilad's reward, of sorts, when he slips off the mortal coil...
Essentially, this comic asks us how devoted is Gilad to his duty? Is he willing to surrender, in effect, heaven for it? While, for the sake of the series, the answer might be a bit of a foregone conclusion, Vendetti does a great job in making it NOT seem like such a foregone conclusion. There is a legitimate reason for Gilad to stay here, and moreover, there is the question of whether it is even "just" for him NOT to stay here.
I love the work that Allen and Martin do on his family - they're adorable, but at the same time, Vendetti is clearly sowing the seeds for future storylines, as one of the great aspects of Eternal Warrior that other writers have used to great effect over the years is that you have the entirety of history at your disposal with Gilad, and thus plot points from, say, 1200 AD could be become topical in present day.
The first issue doesn't fully explore where Gilad IS, yet, exactly, and it will be interesting to see that further laid out.
The end result of this comic is a well-thought first issue with a lot of heart at the center of the story. It's a strong launch to a new series for Valiant.