I am unfamiliar with the Valiant universe. A true neophyte, I came into this book with an open mind and a clean slate and was rewarded with an incredible book and a tale that I am committed to follow.
Doing my research, I have come to find out that the concept of the Geomancer and the Restless Warrior are constants in the Valiant Universe and they have resurfaced in this story as well. In the first issue of this mini-series, the Geomancer was attacked and infected by a mysterious figure wielding necromatic powers. Tama The Geomancer, having a symbiotic relationship with the Earth, is the target of one Imperatrix Verago as she seeks to consume the necrotic energy of the planet by infecting its protector with a wasting disease. Following this attack, Gilad, The Eternal Warrior, journeys forth to find a way to protect his charge and find a cure for her and by extension, Earth.
Fast forward then to issue #2 and this story, by Alex Paknadel (Kino, Little Nightmares), continues. Paknadel has crafted a wonderful and engaging story that dovetails nicely with isssue #1. This story, a mixture of supernatural fantasy and science fiction horror, is compelling and has some truly edge of the seat moments. As Gilad quests, the locations and situations he is placed in are at times terrifying, mesmerizing and most definitely page turning.
The art team on this book have outdone themselves. The pencils by Doug Braithwaite (Judge Dredd, Justice) are solid. Classic and timeless, Braithwaite’s art style in this book presents strong visuals and iconic panels. Those panels often evoke a feeling of majesty and grandeur that in turn lends a gravitas and weightiness to the story itself. The inking on the book is equally as impressive, providing a solid sense of depth and shadow. All too often I have read books where the inkier’s art has been neglected or used ineffectually. Not so here. Not to be outdone, colorist Diego Rodriguez (X-O Man-O-War) has provided the final touch. Color in a comic book can be a tricky thing. Like inking, good color can elevate mediocre pencils and bad color can sink the best artwork. In this book, the professional work of Braithwaite is highlighted and complemented by Rodriguez’ color. The pallet is vibrant and the book is colored with an ephemeral quality that evokes a hazy, dreamy sense to the fantasy story that is unfolding. As the story progresses, the reader will eventually find themselves in a variety of locales and the color adjusts accordingly while working with the same palette and hazy lens. This continuity binds the disparate locations together into a cohesive whole, allowing Gilad’s journey, and the story as a whole, to feel authentic.
In short, this is a very good book and one I enjoyed immensely. In truth, I enjoyed it so much that it has found its way on to my pull list. The storytelling and art work together seamlessly and I would encourage you to pick up this book and experience it for yourself.
Writing – 4.5 of 5 Stars
Art – 5 of 5 Stars
Writing – Alex Paknadel
Art – Doug BraithWaite
Color – Diego Rodriguez
Letters – Marshall Dillon