Valiant Entertainment 2016
Written by Robert Venditti
Illustrated by Robert Gill
Coloured by Mike Spicer
Lettered by Dave Sharpe
When Gilad awoke, he found himself trapped in the lab of The Dying One — a mysterious foe who has seemingly been monitoring Gilad’s activities for centuries. Possessing considerable means and intellect, the Dying One constructed and intricate labyrinth to test Gilad’s powers. Upon besting The Dying One, Gilad escaped the maddening labyrinth, and made his way to Western Nebraska to request a final favor from X-O Manowar-- ”I need you to kill me.”
I’m fascinated by this realm Gilad goes to when he rejuvenates, for lack of a better term. This place where his wife and children, well Kalam’s a child from a first relationship, are there to greet him and spend time with him, in many ways it’s both a blessing and a curse. Knowing that time and again you must leave what is considered paradise where your children don’t age and you have that perfect life you could never have among the living, only to know when it’s time to leave time and again to protect the living world. What this constant back and forth must do to a man’s mind is beyond me. Though thanks to Robert we’re starting to get a good look at it.
I haven’t really read a lot of the X-O Manowar stuff for a long time but I have to wonder if the two knew each other before Aric was taken into space. It would explain why he turned to him to ask him what he does. The others wouldn’t possibly understand what it would mean to go to that place where his family is to mend that fence he so desperately wants to with his first born. The one he more about from the man who stole him, the Dying One. See last issue for details.
I am such a fan of the way Robert has been writing his and the emotional toll it takes on his family each time he returns. Leena herself most of all. This issue really has this major emotional impact upon the characters and it comes from all sides for a slew of different reasons. I cannot believe that there is so much going on here that is such strong characterisation and an intensity that just blows you away.
Equally as intense is Robert’s work on the interiors. I love the way he brings all these facets of Gilad’s life alive on the page. From seeing him as the Eternal Warrior to being with his family as this carefree happy man who actually smiles it’s amazing that it’s the same man sometimes. The range of emotions we see this issue is impressive specially when marked on those faces. From Leena to Gilad we see the love and anger come across with despair so incredibly well.
Kalam wants to mend fences with his father just as much as Gilad does. So therein lies the problem and the predicament he now finds himself in. Kalam has followed in his father’s footsteps into the forest. Though whether or not Kalam can do what Gilad can, hence why the Dying One wanted him, remains to be seen but there’s no love like a fathers for his son. Next issue we’ll see just what it has meant for them both to have entered this land.
I keep saying it because it’s the truth this is the most extensive look at Gilad we’ve ever had and it only keeps getting better and better.