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Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1

Writer: Robert Venditti
Artist: Renato Guedes
Colorist: Ulises Arreola
Publisher: Valiant

Eternal Warrior: Awakening is one of four one-shots to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the titular Valiant hero. Given that there is no current ongoing series for the character, the idea behind these one-shots is to capture the mythological aspects and significance of Gilad through short stories. So far it’s a great idea, as Awakening is particularly stellar.

The story opens in a prehistoric era in which Gilad is a mere farmer with no memory of his past. Yet as new enemies surface, he must come to terms with his destiny and reemerge as the immortal warrior we all know. What’s even more interesting is that this book is also a throwback to the very first issue of Eternal Warrior from the 1990s by Jim Shooter and John Dixon, as it draws heavy inspiration from that story’s plot elements and overall style.

If you’re like me and loved Robert Venditti’s work on both X-O Manowar and Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, you’ll be equally impressed by his storytelling here. His script not only tells a captivating adventure tale, but it also elevates Gilad’s character beyond the status of being an immortal killing-machine. Like his work on Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, Venditti incorporates themes of loss, identity and family into this story.

Likewise, Renato Guedes’ pencils and Ulises Arreola’s colors merge together in a beautifully cinematic fashion. You might be familiar with Guedes’ work from Bloodshot: Reborn, and here he brings the same kind of glorious blockbuster action movie flare. Both he and Arreola are able to create bombastic action sequences as well as quiet moments of character development. All in all, if you’re a Valiant fan there’s no reason not to pick up this book, as it offers a heartfelt portrayal of one of this universe’s most iconic characters.

-Kevin Schaefer for Ultimate Comics