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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.

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

Preview: Psi-Lords #7

Psi-Lords #7

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by ARIEL OLIVETTI
Cover B by JUAN JOSÉ RYP
Cover C by JUAN DOE
Preorder Edition Cover by SCOTT FORBES
On sale DECEMBER 4 | 32 pages, full color | $3.99 US | T+

By the end of this issue…SOMEONE WILL DIE!

Psi-Lords #7

Review: Psi-Lords #6

Psi-Lords #6

Witness a cosmic trial by combat… your monthly dose of surreal sci-fi fun has landed in Psi-Lords #6!

The above text, part of the preview/selling point within the review email is actually remarkably accurate. Not the first half, specifically, but the latter; “your monthly dose of surreal sci-fi fun” is perhaps the best way to describe this book in a seven-word sound bite. It doesn’t quite do the book justice, but then that is arguably a positive thing for those who pick the book up.

I never really know where to start when talking about Psi-Lords. Do I start with the admission that it took me a couple of issues to fully get into the series? Do I start with how much I’ve been enjoying the series? All of it since I reread the earlier comics with new eyes. Do I start with how I can’t quite believe how good the art is in each and every issue?

Or do I start with a summary of the previous arc if you’re a new reader and want to jump on as the next chapter begins?

I think I’ll do that.

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.

The plot of Psi-Lords #6 feels a lot less like the procedural crime drama of the previous issue. It’s more in keeping with a Game Of Thrones-style trial by combat. It’s this free flowing ability of Fred Van Lente to transcend genres with each issue whilst keeping the story rooted in sci fi elements. Although the comic has a higher intensity than the previous issue, there’s still time to further the development of several characters within the action. Van Lente teases out the revelations about the four Astro Friends slowly yet meaningfully amidst the action – I’m not going to say that this is his best work yet, but I’d certainly rank it pretty high.

Of course, credit for the quality of this comic also deserves to be heaped upon the visuals. Renato Guedes is simply stunning here (again). Six issues in, and the artist has never missed a beat. This is an absolute visual masterpiece.

Psi-Lords #6 is an awesome comic book; a story that builds upon the previous five 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

Preview: Psi-Lords #6

PSI-LORDS #6

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Cover A by ROD REIS
Cover B by AMILCAR PINNA
Cover C by RAÚL ALLÉN
On sale NOVEMBER 13 | 32 pages | $3.99 US | T+

“If you love great sci-fi action, a good mystery and/or beautiful art, this book is basically all you need wrapped up in a tidy little package.” – Comic Watch

Witness a cosmic trial by combat… your monthly dose of surreal sci-fi fun has landed!

PSI-LORDS #6

Review: Psi-Lords #5

Psi-Lords #5

RISE UP! Can our space prisoners overthrow their alien captors in Psi-Lords #5?

The new story, “Conquest” starts here. But who will be conquered? Prison riots, secrets revealed, brand-new baddies, and more await the brave who read this.

I never really know where to start when talking about Psi-Lords. Do I start with the admission that it took me a couple of issues to fully get into the series? Do I start with how much I’ve been enjoying the series? All of it since I reread the earlier comics with new eyes. Do I start with how I can’t quite believe how good the art is in each and every issue?

Or do I start with a summary of the previous arc if you’re a new reader and want to jump on as the next chapter begins?

I think I’ll do that.

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.

The plot of Psi-Lords #5 feels a lot like a procedural crime drama with sci fi elements included more than a typical sci fi comic. It has moments of explosiveness, but for the most part feels like a much slower comic that allows Fred Van Lente‘s dialogue to enrich the characterizations of the four Astro Friends. The four human astronauts are essentially blank canvases, each one remembering different parts of their previous lives at some point, but never quite enough to discover who they are – only their initial mission; stop the asteroid colliding with Earth.

Where this comic truly shines, is with the visuals. Renato Guedes is simply stunning here. From the vast galactic visuals to the close up shots of the human faces as they react to the world around them. Frankly, even five issues in, I’m still stunned that we’re getting a comic that looks this good.

Psi-Lords #5 is an interesting read; a captivating story that serves as a bridge from one arc to the other surrounded by some utterly stunning visuals make for a must read comic for me. Which I find surprising because I usually steer away from comics set in space because they never quite grab me the same way as a comic set in the past or present day. And yet, this has found its way to becoming one of the most anticipated books on my pull list.

Go figure.

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

Preview: Psi-Lords #5

PSI-LORDS #5

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Cover A by JULIAN TOTINO TEDESCO
Cover B by AL BARRIONUEVO
Cover C by RAÚL ALLÉN
Pre-Order Edition Cover by SCOTT FORBES
$3.99 | 32 pages | T+ | On Sale OCTOBER 16th

RISE UP! Can our space prisoners overthrow their alien captors?

The new story, “Conquest” starts here. But who will be conquered? Prison riots, secrets revealed, brand-new baddies, and more await the brave who read this.

PSI-LORDS #5

Review: Psi-Lords #4

Psi-Lords #4

Are the Psi-Lords real? Or are they just a myth? Get a first glimpse at the world beyond our own in Psi-Lords #4!

After suffering a dramatic loss, the cosmic Quartet continues on with their mission to honor the memory of a fallen ally.

The ultimate enemy revealed!

It was the third issue that sold me on this series after having some misgivings early on. Now I wonder what the hell I was smoking when reading the first couple issues that made me not enjoy them as much as I did after rereading them earlier this week. The answer is nothing, by the way – nor was I drinking anything. With the issue, Fred Van Lente reminded me why I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. The man knows what he’s doing. It’s far better to trust him than to dismiss a series under his direction after only an issue or two.

But where this comic truly blew me away was in the art. The first panel is one of the most detailed images I’ve seen in a comic. Honestly, it set the bar incredibly high, and Renato Guedes never once stumbles.

The art style in the comic sits perfectly alongside the story. Guedes brings to life the fantastical science fiction elements of Van Lente’s story with exquisite detail. The style that pays homage to the sci-fi movie posters in the 50’s and 60’s. It’s something to behold.

Van Lente blends story exposition into the comic effortlessly with a pace that left me wondering if the comic was at once too short and not long enough. There’s a lot of story in this issue, but I didn’t get enough to satisfy my need to keep reading… I can only see that as a good sign at this point, given how unsure I was after the first issue. The time spent getting to know the characters last issue lends additional weight to the events of Psi-Lords #4. That means that Van Lente can bring a solid action sequence back to the story. Which further means that Guedes can really let loose.

Psi-Lords #4 was easily the best issue so far, finally establishing this series as a sci-fi epic.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 9.2 Art: 9.9 Overall: 9.6 Recommendation: Buy

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Psi-Lords #4

PSI-LORDS #4

Written by FRED VAN LENTE
Art by RENATO GUEDES
Letters by DAVE SHARPE
Cover A by RAHZZAH
Cover B by MICHAEL WALSH
Cover C by TULA LOTAY
Pre-Order Edition by PAULINA GANUCHEAU
$3.99 | 32 pgs. | T+ | On sale SEPTEMBER 18th

Are the Psi-Lords real? Or are they just a myth? Get a first glimpse at the world beyond our own!

After suffering a dramatic loss, the cosmic Quartet continues on with their mission to honor the memory of a fallen ally.

The ultimate enemy revealed!

PSI-LORDS #4

Review: Psi-Lords #3

Psi-Lords #3

The cosmic Quartet begins to master their jaw-dropping powers and unlock deeper meanings to their newfound abilities in Psi-Lords #3!

Dangerous aliens have targeted the Quartet, and they’ll stop at nothing until they’ve eliminated the team.

Plus, the lost history of the Psi-Lords revealed?!

Finally. After three issues, the series has finally clicked for me.

After some misgivings with how writer Fred Van Lente was pacing the story, I’m finally on the same wavelength. I’m close enough to appreciate what he’s been doing with the series right under my bloody nose since the first issue.

Van Lente has taken a breather from the breakneck pace he’s been using so far. In so doing he reveals a lot more about the setting that we find ourselves in, and the Psi-Lords themselves.

And as he does this, and as I was reading it, I realized that I needed to go back and reread the previous issues. It was then that I realized that my earlier assessment, and review scores, would be different (in a good way) had I read the first few issues in one go. But that, alas, is not how monthly series work. We can only judge a story one installment at a time – which isn’t ideal when the whole is often a step above its parts.

So yes, Van Lente and Psi-Lords have won me over (which doesn’t surprise me, but I’m still happy about it).

The exposition, and the time to truly get to know the four characters is well spent and set against some of the most wonderfully colourful imagery that truly gives the book an epic feel.

You’ll notice that I’ve focused primarily on the writing so far. That’s because Renato Guedes is so close to flawless (again) that I’m left almost at a loss for words. His grasp of visual storytelling, the use of colour and panel set up… it would be enough for me to recommend the book alone. But this issue, with the story clicking for me, I finally realize just how bloody brilliant this book actually looks.

These pages wouldn’t look out of place in the Louvre. My feelings about comic book art being in a museum aside, these pages could easily stand next to classical art and grab the world by the collar and demand attention.

Psi-Lords #3 was easily the best issue so far. Not only was it really good, but the clarity it provides on the previous issues cannot be understated. As I said last month, this is going be an absolute must-read story. Keep your eye on this one.

Story: Fred Van Lente
Art: Renato Guedes Letters: Dave Sharpe
Story: 8.2 Art: 9.4 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Read

Valiant provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

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