by Greg Pak (Writer), Robert Gill (Artist), Guy Major (Colorist)
The Story: It seems that pissing off an immortal is still a bad idea even in 4001 AD.
The Review: I love surprises. Some people might prefer to have a more stable experiences with book, with a series that can constantly promise a certain modicum of stability in its execution and quality. While a book that can deliver with each issue is certainly nice, one that can suddenly improve and show new and exciting ideas is always something I am looking for.
This issue of Eternal Warrior certainly fits the description. While I am an overall fan of Greg Pak and the Valiant universe as a whole, it seems that this issue is a huge improvement in the series, providing one of those coveted ”jumping-on points” as well as continuing the themes of the series as established by Greg Pak himself.
Set in 4001, this issue shows a future that is rather inspired, with a continuation of what could potentially happen if the representation of the Earth would disappear, as Gilad has destroyed it in the previous arc. The first thing that Pak does right is in setting down the voice of Gilad in this future, representing him once more as an immortal, yet not someone who necessarily grew all that wise or feeble, representing the warrior part of the character quite well. The confident and rather analytic, yet not completely devoid of compassion warrior is one that is rather entertaining to follow, as his relation with the villagers and his granddaughter makes for a rather stark contrats with his demeanour and his abilities.
What he does best, though, is setting down the ambiance and mystery around the year 4001, going in a route that is rather ambiguous in terms of progress and mentality. As many elements are introduced in the story, the general intrigue as to how society has evolved gets deeper and utterly fascinating, proposing a certain division between a call to simpler times and a technological and brutal approach.
Where the world shines, though, is in the almost non-verbal approach as the pages that are very low in dialogue and narration are much more evocative and filled with details than those that actually explain some of the elements through exposition. The manner in which Pak allows readers to discover the world and how it works makes for something that is very easy to invest into as Gilad and his granddaughter Caroline progress in their journey to save the villagers in their care.
Still, despite the fact that the world-building is rather excellent here, it would amount to nothing if the plot in itself would be bland and boring. However, Pak does a smart move here by linking the journey to the very simple direction, making sure the readers dare not miss a single thing in the process of connecting the dots, with the action and the general additions to 4001 AD being key to the plot. With Gilad searching for those responsible for the attack on his village, the quest to gain a cure for what ails the village as to the explanation of all this violence makes the search for the societal and technological changes that much more important.
Still, all this world-building wouldn’t be as near as effective without a talented artist. Thankfully, Robert Gill could certainly be named thus, with a penchant for scenery, backgrounds and ambiance that allows this issue to work like a charm. With a very good sense of scope and depth, the many action and pages with very little text are particularly effective in terms of storytelling. The characters, through their designs and their expressions, be it body language or facial, are also key in the general understanding of what’s there to understand. The rough, though nuanced approach of Robert Gill to lines is also quite evocative of the brutality and rather savage quality of the world presented on the pages, with a touch of beauty attributed to them that makes what’s displayed surprisingly poetic in terms of contrasts.
The colorization of Guy Major is also very competent here, with a good division between technology and nature as well as violence and peace with his approach to colorization. The dust of the nuclear bomb, the armors, the weapons and the machines are all a bit grey, brown and colored in a way that is rather dull, yet the sky, the trees and the environment are all done with a certain diversity and brightness that allows the rich warmth and coldness on display to pop up even more. Painting a tapestry in collaboration with Robert Gill, the colors makes the whole issue a lot more richer, which makes the visuals rather beautiful thanks to the work of both Gill and Major.
The Conclusion: Presenting a very rich and nuanced world to discover, Greg Pak makes this issue a very worthwhile one thanks to a sense of discovery combined excellent art and good ideas. An excellent jumping-on point indeed.
-Hugo Robberts Larivière