Valiant Entertainment 2019
Story by Andy Diggle & Alex Paknadel
Written by Alex Paknadel
Illustrated by Doug Braithwaite
Coloured by Diego Rodriguez
Lettered by Marshall Dillon
Be ware the necromancer known as Imperatrix Virago! A narcissistic creature, Virago has devised a way to keep herself young by converting organic matter into necromantic energy, utilizing the special talents of her young servant, Syntilla. Virago invaded Earth with an armada of undead soldiers in search of the Earth’s avatar, Tama, who Syntilla succeeded in infecting with a necromantic virus. The entire world is now on borrowed time, and the burden falls on Tama’s guardian, Gilad the Eternal Warrior, to find a cure before Virago’s next meal is ready to be consumed…
So the scourge of the Valiant Universe continues to grow and it’s best hope for survival lays in the hands of Gilad, is the Earth doomed or will he come through this with a way to restore Tama and save the planet? This is a beautifully written, tension filled thrill a minute roller coaster ride that shows us why Alex is the newest rising star in the comics industry. The opening here is great a we start to see the effects that touch to Tama is already having on the life in the oceans. Of course the conversation boxes are intriguing as well as is the woman whom they belong to.
When certain characters pop up I get that kind of surprise tingly feeling that makes me excited. Of course once it’s revealed that they aren’t playing more than a passing role in these pages then I deflate a bit. Still seeing them is the perfect reminder at how small Valiant’s super-hero community is, or just those with powers (Psiots included actually). This husband and wife duo are going to take care of Tama while Gilad is going to go off on his search for a way to help her. Again I like the way that all of this feels so incredibly organic in nature as if Gilad knew who he could turn to for help, snide comments aside which by the way the dialogue is pretty darn sensational.
The interiors here are marvellous and seeing the way Doug is able to manipulate the linework through their varying weights and create such amazing attention to detail is incredible. From Gilad’s scars to Tama’s necromantic virus effects to the creativity and imagination in the invaders and those we see in the deadside the attention paid to all we see is just that good. Diego deserves a lot of credit for what he’s bringing to the table here as well. The colours can be muted and delicate, bright white and blinding or pop revealing moments meant to instil awe or fear. The utilisation of the page layouts and how we see the angles and perspective in the panels show off Doug’s eye for storytelling. The way that backgrounds are utilised bring that feeling of size and scope to the book as well enhance any given moment beautifully.
The boys do such an amazing job on the story aspect as well. That Gilad can do in his own mini-series that will effect the entire world as they know it and doesn’t need to be drug out and span countless other titles in cameo only is why Valiant continues to be a leader in the industry when it comes to explosive event series stories that can contained to one book in a four issue run. The pacing is here amazing and the way the structure sets up the ebb & flow of how we learn what we need to, and trust me there are some bombshells here, as well fleshing out the characters in ways that not only make sense to who they are but also continues to help us understand them that much more.
Gilad is a complex man who hides behind a mask and every once in a while we get to see behind the veneer he puts on and it’s a glorious thing to behold.