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: Eternal Warrior: Sword of the Wild
It should be no secret to you that I am a huge fan of Valiant comics. I’ve also made no secret of my love for the Eternal Warrior. But a lot of that love stems from Book Of Death and Wrath of the Eternal Warrior, and not his first solo series offered since Valiant’s 2012 relaunch, the eponymously titled Eternal Warrior. I first read that series shortly after Book Of Death and didn’t enjoy it as much as I wanted to, and although I’ve heard mixed opinions on it since, I wanted to give the first four issues in the series another chance (you can find them collected as Sword Of The Wild, hence the full title of this week’s column, and what I’ll be referring to them as going forward).
The back of the trade dressing (apparently) reads;
Soldier. Guardian. Warrior. Legend. Across ten millennia and a thousand battlefields, Gilad Anni-Padda has traversed the darkest, most mysterious corners of history. But the horror and bloodshed of constant warfare has finally taken its toll on the man myth calls the Eternal Warrior…and he has abdicated his duties as the Fist and the Steel of Earth for a quiet life of seclusion. But when a blood vendetta from the distant past suddenly reappears in the modern day, he must decide if he will return to the ways of war…for the child who betrayed him thousands of years ago…
Before rereading Sword of the Wild I realised that I had to look at the book as its own entity, removed from the larger continuity of the Valiant universe as a whole. This realisation came because for me Sword of the Wild doesn’t tie in to the portrayal of the Eternal Warrior we were given in Unity, and subsequently Book Of Death and Wrath of the Eternal Warrior (although the latter two came after Sword of the Wild) nor the general continuity Valiant had built at the time. Once I had taken that mentality with the book, I sat down, opened the front cover and got started… and was immediately transported to what felt like a reimagination of the 90’s era Eternal Warrior.
I say this because although the book doesn’t lot in as well with the Valiant continuity as other books and series have done, it’s still a really enjoyable read. More so than I initially expected. When you look at this book as a standlone story about an immortal warrior finally having enough of the world’s shit and just wants to live the rest of his long days in peace (or at least a portion of them), and remove any preconcieved notions of how it could or should fit into the other stories featuring Gilad Anni-Padda, then you’ll find that there’s a really compelling four issue arc here.
Just on that maybe lines up better with the pre-relaunch Valiant comics than the Valiant Entertainment era.
I really enjoyed this book – far more than I expected to. So why is it today’s subject? Because I hear very few people talk about this volume with the enthusiasm the character deserves because it doesn’t fit the larger Valiant continuity as well as it could. But as a standalone story? It’s pretty good – that’s why the book is Underrated.
Join us next week when we look at something else that is, for whatever reason, Underrated.