Valiant Entertainment 2015
Written by Robert Venditti
Illustrated by Raul Allen & Patricia Martin
Art Assists by David Astruga
Additional Colours by Borja Pindado
Lettered by Patricia Martin
Gilad died protecting the Geomancer and the Earth itself from Master Darque, a powerful practitioner of dark magic. Upon his death, he returned to the afterlife and was greeted by his long deceased wife Leena and the many children he has lost over his centuries of life. Not all of them were happy to see him, including his oldest son, Kalam. Indeed, dark forces are already daring Gilad to attempt his return to the land of the living...As Gilad fights his way back to the living world, he is unaware of something evil that lures him to his doom…
I am lost in this world or should I saw afterworld that Gilad finds himself in. This is and continues to be something that explains so much of his character. Fighting the forces of hell as he heals and makes his way back to the land of the living to keep up the mantle of hero and guardian of the Geomancer yeah it really delves into the deepest parts of him and gives us a fuller picture.
Not only is Robert knocking this story out of the park but the interior artwork is amazing as well. I mean dang this is some hella good stuff we’re seeing here. The two-page spread alone is sheer genius and by blacking out Gilad was just one of those moments you’ll never forget. So that we see such differences in the time he’s with his family compared to when he’s in the chamber really makes this stand out as much as it does. Well that and the imagination in ringing the denizens of the underworld to life.
Gilad’s relationship with his family is a complicated one to say the least. Much more so than most since Leena and the children are deceased and he only sees them when he needs to leave the mortal plane to recuperate. On one hand she understands him and loves his determination and on the other hates him for repeatedly leaving her not understanding why they aren’t enough for him. It’s so well written here that it is almost painful to see Gilad have to deal with either of those facets. That’s damn good writing when you can see that.
So Gilad has to escape the afterlife and that it isn’t going to be easy but doesn’t feel drawn out or prolonged unnecessarily is great. I like that this isn’t written or at least doesn’t feel like it’s written to fit a trade. The struggle we see in gaining his freedom is fun for the fact that we see him thinking and using some ingenuity. Sure there’s also plenty of action going on here as well as he has to fight his way through Humongous’ hordes.
Overall this really has taken the character to new heights, places and with some of the most indepth characterization i’ve ever seen. I mean there’s so many layers to him and as we see one another is revealed and how they all kind of interplay is incredible to see.
With series as strong as this it’s easy to see why Valiant is taking it’s place alongside the top companies in the industry.