Every Monday for the next few weeks, Valiant Entertainment is running a poll on Twitter to provide fans with some escapism while new comics are in short supply. The poll allows Valiant fans the opportunity to select the “Hero Of The Week” from four choices. That week’s hero will then be the focus of free pdfs featuring the character, videos from Valiant staff, giveaways, and more. This week, the poll featured Rai, Punk Mambo, Livewire and the Eternal Warrior.
This week’s winner was…
The Eternal Warrior
Who is he? The immortal guardian of the Earth and it’s Geomancer. Gilad Anni-Padda has lived for thousands upon thousands of years, and has become a master combatant and strategist. He is also, unquestionably, my favourite character in the Valiant universe and easily within my top five comic book characters. Perhaps one of the things that interests me most with Gilad is the ability to set his stories in any time period.
What should you read?
A battle ten millennia in the making…
The Eternal Warrior has protected the Earth for more than 10,000 years. A master of countless weapons and long forgotten martial arts, he is guided by the Geomancers – those who speak for the Earth. During his long watch, the Eternal Warrior has failed three times. Each time, the Geomancer was killed…and a new dark age for humanity began. Each time, he was unable to stop The Immortal Enemy – a monstrous force of nature. A civilization killer. A horror that appears differently each time it arrives…and whose seemingly only purpose is to bring disorder and darkness to the world. Now, the time has come for The Immortal Enemy to return once more. But, this time, the Eternal Warrior will be ready. This time, he has a force greater than any single warrior. This time, he has…THE VALIANT.
The Valiant written by Matt Kindt and Jeff Lemire is the first of two books you’ll have seen before. The premise is centered around a loose group of allies headed by the Eternal Warrior trying to stop the Immortal Enemy from murdering the Geomancer, the person who speaks for the planet. As a showcase for the various Valiant heroes, this is arguably still the best way for new-to-Valiant readers to get introduced to the publishers characters. It’s also a fantastic story.
Book Of Death
The Valiant heroes. X-O Manowar. Bloodshot. Ninjak. The Harbinger Renegades. Unity. This is how they lived. This is how they died.
Now we know. The Book of the Geomancer has recorded it all. But only a young girl – the last in a line of the enigmatic mystics who protect the Earth known as
Geomancers – has seen this future come to pass, from the coming cataclysm to the dawn of the 41st century. Alone with her sworn protector, the Eternal Warrior – a soldier battle-forged across five thousand years of combat – the duo must defy their allies to stop the Dark Age that now threatens to eclipse our world.
Together, they are the number one target of every hero and villain on Earth. Either the Eternal Warrior hands her over…or they take him down. But can even he single-handedly protect one child when the entire Valiant Universe wages war against him?
This was my introduction to Gilad, and it was also what sold me on the Valiant universe as a whole. Book Of Death is technically a sequel to The Valiant, a book that I’ve recommended already in these weekly columns, and will again if Eternal Warrior wins the week. But you don’t need to read that story to enjoy this. You get an immediate sense of what an absolute monster the Eternal Warrior is very early in the series as he faces down Valiant’s premiere super team, Unity, entirely alone. That Book Of Death leads directly into Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior, easily one of my favourite Valiant stories (are you sensing a theme with this?) and there’s no question in my mind that this is the place to start if you want to read about the Eternal Warrior
Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior: Risen
For five millennia, the Eternal Warrior has shaped history at the end of his sword. He’s razed empires, toppled civilizations, and broken armies as an immortal soldier in service to the Earth. But now, the Eternal Warrior has been torn from the world he once protected and finds himself stranded in a hostile alien landscape unlike any he’s faced before. Separated from his earthly environs, can history’s deadliest soldier survive a realm far older, far deadlier, and fare more ruinous than anything he’s ever encountered? Beyond Earth lies eternity…
I’m not going to cover this in detail because it’s also the subject of this week’s Underrated column. The first volume, Risen, is pretty good when you first read it, but as the series continued then you realize how necessary the story is and as you go back to the volume then you realize that “pretty good” is an understated recommendation when you take in the series as a whole. The entire Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior series is on my Top Five all-time comics list. Read it, and find out why.
Beyond the margins of human reason lies a realm known as the Deadside, where the souls of the dearly departed linger – and where demons wait for us in the dark. For countless ages, Earth’s chosen protectors have guarded the veil between both worlds – but there are other doors to the Deadside, through which gruesome terrors from galaxies untold can trespass… With the planet’s freedom at stake, can the reigning Geomancer and her steadfast Eternal Warrior stand together against an invasion unlike any they’ve ever witnessed?
A sequel of sorts to Book Of Death in that it features both the Geomancer and the Eternal Warrior, this book both emphasizes the relationship between the two characters but it also shows just how far the Eternal Warrior will go in pursuit of his goals.
Eternal Warrior: Days Of Steel
The Eternal Warrior…Gilad Anni-Padda, the Earth’s Fist and Steel…is forever charged with guarding the Geomancer and securing the Earth’s safety. After completing another brutal mission, the Earth’s undying guardian is approached with a cryptic task: find and save a baby — in whose hands might rest the fate of an entire people! But the Eternal Warrior is no nursemaid…and, to complicate matters, a thousand Magyar invaders want the baby dead. At the edge of civilization, can history’s most expert killer keep one precious life alive?
This isn’t generally thought of among the classics. but it’s worth checking out. Eternal Warrior forced to choose between protecting one of two siblings; whether he chooses right or wrong… he’ll have to wait decades to decide. Clocking it at only three issues, this is one of the short stories on the list, and it’s one of the lesser acclaimed books, but I was more than happy with it when I closed the final page.
It’s worth noting that you can get Deluxe Editions of many of these stories that collect what amounts to three trades in a hardcover. They are comparatively better valued, but present a higher initial cost (based on standard retail pricing not including sales and discounts). They’re my personal preference.
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