Tag Archives: Comics

Underrated: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior

This is a column that focuses on something or some things from the comic book sphere of influence that may not get the credit and recognition it deserves. Whether that’s a list of comic book movies, ongoing comics, or a set of stories featuring a certain character. The columns may take the form of a bullet pointed list, or a slightly longer thinkpiece – there’s really no formula for this other than whether the things being covered are Underrated in some way. This week: Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior.

wotewJust under a year and a half aog, Valiant Entertainment released a deluxe hardcover edition collecting the entire 14 issue run of Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior along with Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1. Fifteen comics presented in an over-sized hardcover along with 20 odd pages of bonus extras that add a lot for  those interested in the process of the creation of the series, all for $49.99. And yes, I did buy this myself (and happily so) despite having access to the review copies and single issues I had picked up when released.

This series remains one of my all time favourites, so getting a chance to read it all in one spot was something I couldn’t pass up.

But despite this being one of my all time greats, it wasn’t until about the midway point that I fell for the series. Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior didn’t start out as a series that wowed me. The first four issues seemed to struggle with pacing and the art style, especially given the series billing as a follow-up to the explosively exciting Book Of Death miniseries that (spoiler) ended in the Eternal Warrior’s death. It’s that death, and those that follow, that form the crux of the series, but without the first four issues you don’t realize the toll taken on the Eternal Warrior with each death and resurrection cycle. The comics that I felt struggled with pacing quickly became some of the most important ground-setting in modern comics – a lesson that I took to heart, and quickly so.

Comics, like all stories, need time to breath.

It would also be fair to say that the art team of Raul Allen and Patricia Martin were not immediately to my taste. In furtherance to that, it would also be fair to say that my taste quickly changed as the series progressed and the elegance and artistic genius of the husband and wife team gave me a new appreciation of the majesty of sequential art.  There are other artists who contribute to the series, all with a fantastic level of talent; it’s these contributions that give the series the honour of being one of the most visually stunning and diverse pieces of sequential art published by Valiant.

Robert Venditti has written some incredible comics in his time, but one of the finest examples of his work comes in the fourteen issue run of Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior. Taking you on a journey through history,  across continents and beyond death, Venditti weaves an incredibly deep tale that reveals a different layer upon each subsequent reading.

It’s also violent as all hell in places, which should satisfy the need we have for a bit of blood and conflict in our comics, but there’s also a deep emotional story here that cannot – and should not – go ignored. The Eternal Warrior is an ancient being, and his life has not always been sunshine and roses – but he still picks himself up and dusts himself off.

Isn’t there a saying that’s roughly it isn’t how many times we fall, but how many times we pick ourselves up?

Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior is a fantastic series, and I envy those of you who get to read the entire thing in one sitting; the deluxe hardcover is worth picking up for that series alone, which is why I haven’t mentioned Eternal Warrior: Awakening at any point in this week’s column because that’s the cherry on top of the fantastic main course. Mixed metaphors aside, Awakening is another really good comic, and serves as another nice bonus for those who buy the collection.

I’ll  make no secret of my abject love for this series, indeed the fact I own both the individual issues and the deluxe hardcover when I also have access to the review copies should hopefully speak volumes to that love. It’s a love that I genuinely believe you’ll share when you give the series a chance – it’s an underrated gem.

Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.

Preview: Doctor Mirage #5 (of 5)


Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KANO
Cover C by ANEKE
Preorder Edition Cover by VANESA R. DEL REY
On sale DECEMBER 11 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

How will this speaker of the dead keep her place in the land of the living?

What will Doctor Mirage have to sacrifice in order to discover the truth, in the haunting climax of DOCTOR MIRAGE’s critically-acclaimed 2019 miniseries!


Preview: Rai #2

RAI #2

Written by DAN ABNETT
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by KAEL NGU
Preorder Edition Cover by JAVIER PULIDO
On sale DECEMBER 11 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

Can the cyborg samurai Rai and his robot boy sidekick escape a sentient madhouse?!

Review: Psi-Lords #7

Psi-Lords #7

Normally this part I’d put the preview text to give you an idea as to the content of Psi-Lords #7. The preview text for this comic is a pretty giant single line spoiler. I’m not overly fond of pasting that here. Text like that tends to either draw you in or turn you away. For me, it’d be a turn off if I was interested in the book and saw something like that. So, I’ll leave it out this month. 

That said, the preview text isn’t the comic, and you’re not here to read a 500-word rant about spoilers.

Psi-Lords #7 marks the first time in the series that we see a tie-in to the rest of the Valiant universe. The comic guest stars arguably the flagship character of the Valiant Universe; X-O Manowar. C(contrary to my rant on spoilers above, this is revealed on the first page.

Four humans come to awareness on an asteroid/alien planet. They discover they have superpowers and escaped with the help of a mysterious stranger. They find themselves among some pacifist cat-like aliens and defended them against another alien, a Widower, by killing him. Somehow they gain the incredible team name of The Astro Friends. Now, they’re about to face the consequences of those actions in what they assume to be a court of law – of some kind, which basically amounts to a trail by combat as they fight for control of the asteroid hurtling toward the Earth.

Psi-Lords #7 splits time between Earth and space, which has the effect of adding gravitas to the story we haven’t really seen before as the weight of the Astro Friends potential failure is a lot more immediate than it ever has been before. It’s a story with weight all of a sudden, one that has veered away from the exploratory early issues as the characters discover who they are and what they can do. Fred Van Lente is a brilliant writer and shows how well he can balance multiple plates in the air whilst giving ample storytime to each in a way that doesn’t diminish from the impact of the two settings.

Renato Guedes is, once again, simply stunning here. After seven issues, the artist has never missed a beat in demonstrating why he’s one of the best in the business. This is an absolute visual masterpiece.

Psi-Lords #7 is another awesome comic book; a story that builds upon the previous issues without ever overburdening new readers – a delicate place to balance any story, but Van Lente has found the sweet spot here. Psi-Lords has captured me in a way I never expected it too; but when you’ve got a comic that’s as exemplary as this, that should come as no surprise.

Story: Fred Van Lente Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

“The Long Shot” Begins in Bloodshot #4 this December

Bloodshot #4 unleashes Valiant‘s supersoldier on a brand-new mission this December!

It’s bullets vs. claws in the first chapter of “The Long Shot,” a gripping new story starring the nanite-infused hero. Trapped in a bullet train, Bloodshot and his new allies, the Burned, square off against fearsome creatures in Bloodshot #4, an action-packed issue that serves as the perfect jumping on point before Vin Diesel makes his big screen debut as Bloodshot next year! The can’t-miss issue is crafted by best-selling writer Tim Seeley, iconic artist Brett Booth, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe

Check out a preview of Blooshot #4‘s mayhem below! It goes on sale December 18th, 2019, and features covers by Declan ShalveyMike McKoneMarc Laming, and a preorder cover by Simon Bisley.

Blooshot #4

Advance Review: Rai #2

Rai #2

Can the cyborg samurai Rai and his robot boy sidekick escape a sentient madhouse in Rai #2?!

I absolutely loved the first issue of the current volume of Rai. I think it’s volume three technically, though it’s the second first issue since Valiant relaunched in 2012. Every aspect of the first issue blew me away. I honestly expected this issue to come off a little poorer in comparison due to that.

Spoiler: It doesn’t.

The first issue had Rai and his older/younger brother Raijin confront a semi stereotypical group of post-apocalyptic enemies in a roving gang of gear heads and dinosaurs. It was a backdrop to the more interesting exploration of the evolution of machines. This issue sees Rai and Raijin continue their search for more pieces of Father – the AI who ran New Japan like a god before Rai brought the floating nation down to Earth in a catastrophic confrontation in an attempt to kill him. Rai failed to kill Father, who took control of Bloodshot’s body and needs only a small number of the Offspring to remake himself entirely.

Rai #2 begins with Rai and Raijin in the hunt for one of the Offspring Father needs to absorb. It takes them through a sector of New Japan that fell to earth which bears a strong resemblance to a derelict North American city circa the turn of the 21st century. That strikes quite the dichotomy with a rather idyllic looking model home. It isn’t much of a spoiler to say that Rai and Raijin approach and enter the home. By the time the fourth page is over they’re in the house.

Dan Abnett comes at the artificial intelligence angle from a slightly different perspective in the second issue. Rather than a discussion between two brothers (though the dynamic is a unique one; the chronologically older one is the child, whilst the younger one act much more adult like), Abnett uses the AI within the house to ask whether it is ethical to create artificial assistants with enough autonomy to function and then leave them alone for a significant period of time. For anyone who talks to a Siri, Alexa or Google, I’m sure that you’ve often wanted a physical representation of the virtual assistant to make you a real cup of coffee. What if you were able to get one that eventually fell into disuse?

It’s at this point that the comic distinguishes itself as more than just a follow up to an issue of the year contender. It stands as a fantastic issue in its own right. Dan Abnett two for two when it comes to fantastic issues. If he can keep this level of quality up, Rai will go down as one of the best comic series.

Yes, I think it’s that good.

Joining Abnett is the ever astounding artist Juan Jose Ryp and colourist Andrew Dalhouse. The pair were spectacular last week, and are just as good here. Ryp’s hyper detailed style is superbly suited for a post apocalyptic world, and the way he shifts from the derelict and abandoned streets to the manicured lawn and clean lines of the model home is almost jarring. Dalhouse’s colouring also plays a part in the transition between the two settings. His work is also top notch in Rai #2; the starkness of the streets contrasts powerfully with the model home, as is emblematic of the comic’s soul.

Rai #1 was one of the best comics I’d read all year, and much to my surprise the second issue is every bit as good as the first. Welcome to your new favorite series.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.7 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Roku #2

Roku #2

In order to save a life, the lethal weapon Roku is going to have to kill a lot of people. Plus, the first appearance of the Minister of Blades! All in Roku #2!

Comics featuring a villain as a protagonist can often be a dicey proposition. If the character isn’t in some way sympathetic it can be hard for the audience to find a connection. Roku is the exception to that rule. I say rule, but really it’s just a personal observation. She’s far from a sympathetic character in terms of her motivations, despite her tragic history. That’s revealed to some extent this issue through dialogue and the character’s internal monologue.

The first cliche of the book is that despite Roku being an unscrupulous assassin villain, she seems to be willing to do “the right thing”. Though arguably not for the best of reasons. It’s at this point that we find ourselves rooting for the character. While it may seem familiar to some, Cullen Bunn frames the story and the character in such a way that you’ll never complain that the story has that familiar sense about it.

The book showcases Roku’s skills, as well as the oddly creepy hair powers she has as she cuts through her enemies like cheese wire through a block of cheddar. Her hair powers are one of my favorite things about the character. Though I have to admit at finding it a little creepy at the same time. It’s both an interesting ability for a character and one that still has the ability to take me off guard. It isn’t often you see a character who can use her hair as a weapon.

Bunn’s story seems pretty straightforward, though one can start to see the subtle complexities being teased out to us.

Bunn is joined by artist Ramon F. Bachs and colorist Stephane Paitreau, whose style is clean with enough flare to provide an interesting look to the book. You can tell exactly what’s happening on each page even though there’s frequently some form of swift and brutal encounter between Roku and somebody else.

Roku #2 takes the series firmly into New-Reader-Friendly territory, with the focal point of the story being Roku’s mission rather than the character herself and a deep dive into her past. While her mysterious past is brought up enough to familiarize the unfamiliar, it hasn’t been anything more than characters alluding to what has gone before in a way that doesn’t break the story if you’ve no idea what happened.

At the end of the day, this book is still a fun read. There’s a bit more to unpack for fans of Roku or readers of Ninjak, but either way, there’s more than enough here to pull you back for the third issue.

Story: Cullen Bunn Art: Ramon F. Bachs
Colors: Stephane Paitreau Letters: Dace Sharpe

Story: 8.6 Art: 8.2 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Bloodshot #3

Bloodshot #3

Break out the popcorn before Bloodshot hits the big screen and witness the supersoldier unleashed in Bloodshot #3!

The origin issue of Eidolon, Bloodshot’s greatest nemesis in the making!

I’m going to go out on a limb and assume you’ve seen a popcorn action movie of some kind. The kind where you can walk in and just turn your brain off, munch some snacks and drink a Coke. You really don’t need to think about too much other than just enjoying what’s happening in front of your eyes. You know exactly what you’re getting, and the film delivers in every aspect.

The reason this is relevant is that this comic is as popcorn as they come. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, as long as your expectations are in the right place. Gone is the character-driven series penned by Jeff Lemire. His work is acknowledged within Bloodshot #3. That answers one of the questions I had with this series. That’s surrounding where the book fits in the character’s continuity.

Tim Seeley continues his breakneck pace for the third issue, moving the plot along in a swift manner that allows him to use every page within the comic to further the plot, whilst only barely fleshing out one or two of the supporting cast. The end result of this is a comic that focuses more on the visualization of the writer’s vision and the furtherance of the plot than the characters within the comics pages.

Seeley is joined by artist Brett Booth, inker Adelso Corona, colorist Andrew Dalhouse, and letterer Dave Sharpe, none of who seem to have wasted any energy or talent in moving the book along. The state of Bloodshot throughout this book is wonderfully uncomfortable as we see Bloodshot’s physical degradation reach new highs (or lows) as the character comes face to face with a new enemy who really tests the limits of Bloodshot’s powers. the art work for this sequence is messy (for clarification, I am not saying that messy is a bad thing in the case) and just oozes pain and suffering as you’re reading the comic.

Once again, this is a fairly straight forward and simple comic book story. It’s the epitome of a popcorn comic, but it does its job very well. At entertain rip through another twenty odd pages in the series that’ll likely wrap up eaely next year, conveniently just in time to be released in a trade. If you want some high octane action in your comic books, then you really can’t go wrong with this series. Each issue has been popcorn comics at its finest.

It’s a very fun book, and sometimes that’s all a comic needs to be.

Story: Tim Seeley Art: Brett Booth
Ink: Adelso Corona Color: Andrew Dalhouse Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.9 Art: 9.1 Overall: 9.2 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Rai #1

RAI #1

Welcome to the 41st century: New worlds, new characters, new adventures await kicking off in Rai #1.
Valiant’s critically celebrated cyborg ronin named Rai embarks on a thrilling quest to save the future.

Every so often, a comic comes along that blows your expectations away. Rai #1 is one of those comics.

This series picks up after the events of Fallen World. It was a mini-series the cynical would suggest only exists in order to launch this series. I enjoyed Fallen World, although I felt it dropped a bit in quality after the first two issues. Though it wasn’t much, there was definitely a downward slope after the third issue. Writer Dan Abnett reversed the slope for the fifth issue to end on a highlight. Whether he knew he was setting up Rai #1 with Fallen World #5 or not, he was able to end the series on a high note. It provided an ending that satisfied the miniseries whilst ramping up anticipation for Rai #1.

Abnett builds upon Fallen World, and indeed 4001 A.D. He delivers what amounts to a buddy-cop comic with two brothers looking to stop their father from enslaving the world. There’s a bit more to it than that. The older brother is the child, and in order to stop their father, Rai and Raijin have to stop him from rebooting his AI system by gathering more pieces of himself scattered across the post apocalyptic Earth of 4002 AD.

The relationship between the two Rai warms the page; the smaller Raijin is a fully synthetic being, unable to grow or age beyond his current stature but is the first model of Rai whereas the adult looking Rai, the Rai of the title, is the newest model – and half human – which leads to some clever dialogue between the two characters, and gives Abnett plenty of room to explore what it means to be human and how we think of AI and robots in science fiction.

Joining Abnett is the ever astounding artist Juan Jose Ryp and colourist Andrew Dalhouse. The pair have delivered one of the best looking comics you’re going to read this week – or even this year. Ryp’s hyper detailed style is superbly suited for a post apocalyptic world where things have been pulled together out of scraps from the previous two millennium, the mechanical advancement and subsequent regression between our time and 4002 is captured brilliantly on the page without it ever needing to be explicitly discussed. And then we have then way that he frames his shots, generally sticking to a horizontal grid until he needs to highlight a character’s actions or choices, which will result in a breaking of the grid as the character soars or needs to take center stage.

Ryp’s grasp of visual storytelling is on point here, and with Rai #1he underlines his name as one of the finest artists in comics today.

Dalhouse is superb in bringing the artwork to life. The vibrant colours and subtle use of clouds in the blue sky early in the comic is beautiful in its simplicity. Post apocalyptic tales often have the reputation of being set in a boring barren brown wasteland, and while that’s still the case here (at least as far as the first issue goes), there’s nothing boring about the way Dalhouse has coloured this book. He adds a vibrant soul to the comic that would be noticed if it was missing – even if you couldn’t put a finger on what you would be missing.

You can read the first eight pages below if you want a taste of the book. They’re perhaps the best opening to a comic I’ve read in a long time.

Perhaps the only “flaw” in the book is that it builds upon around twenty five issues across three series. Yes, having read those will help you (even just the two mentioned previously; 4001 A.D. and Fallen World, though the first volume of Rai is also very good), but if you’re coming in to this volume of Rai unfamiliar with the characters then you won’t be lost. At all. This issue establishes who the two lead characters are, their motivations and their capabilities in an organic way. The review copy I read didn’t have a recap page, but the comic doesn’t need it.

Rai #1 is one of the best comics I’ve read all year. This is a comic that has (almost) everything you could want in a comic. I say almost because there’s always something you can nitpick with any issue, though I have yet to find anything to moan about with Rai #1. I cannot recommend this book enough.

This is going to be something special.

Writer: Dan Abnett Artist: Juan Jose Ryp
Colorist: Andrew Dalhouse Letter: Dave Sharpe

Story: 9.7 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.8 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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