Late last year, Gilad the Eternal Warrior, returned following Valiant’s Book of Death, written by New York best seeling author and long time comic book writer Robert Venditti. Normally found in outer space with DC’s Green Lantern or Valiant’s own space-turned-Earth-featuring aliens mainstay book X-O Manowar, we caught up with Robert to discuss all things Eternal: –
CC: Robert, thanks for taking a time out to speak with me. First question, for those not in the know, what’s WRATH OF ETERNAL WARRIOR all about?
Robert Venditti:Wrath of the Eternal Warrior is a story about Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, who is a character that’s been around for 5000 years in Valiant continuity. One of his missions is to defend a mystical line of geomancers—individuals that have communicated between humanity and Earth across the millennia. But another one of his functions is to guide humanity and to shape us to be better as a civilization, so his story will certainly tap into those sorts of themes, but it’s a different look for immortality—it’s a different look than we’ve seen before—certainly, not for the character the Eternal Warrior, but even for immortality as a concept. We’re going to see him going up against some adversaries we’ve never seen him go up against before, he’s going to be in environments we’ve never seen him in before, and we’re going to see exactly what he has to sacrifice and what he has to endure to be able to come back and fight for humanity again and again to try to help us make a better world for ourselves, and we’re also going to learn why he does it.
CC: You’ve already worked with Gilad on BOOK OF DEATH, what drew you to writing this character in this new series?
RV:I’ve always wanted to write Gilad. When Valiant first reached out to me way back, the two characters which appealed to me the most were X-O Manowar and Gilad, the Eternal Warrior, so I’m glad to be able to have the chance to launch an ongoing series with them. But even beyond that, it’s a story that’s unlike any story that I’ve ever done before. I try to take on something different with every story I take on, and this one also is very challenging—there are a lot of things about the story that I’m trying to get outside my comfort zone with, and all that stuff is very appealing to me when I’m trying to take on new projects.
CC: The Geomancer was a huge part of BOOK OF DEATH. Will we be seeing more of that character in this series?
RV:We will! Not immediately, but the geomancer of course is a mythology that’s very much entwined with the Eternal Warrior, so geomancers in general will be characters that we see throughout the series, but it’s something that we’ll get to, but it isn’t going to be there right out the gate.
CC: You’re dealing with an immortal character who’s had adventures all throughout time. How does that affect the storytelling in this series? Will you stick to one time period or be jumping around?
RV:One of the great assets of a character like Eternal Warrior is the ability to dip into different time periods and different eras, and see all of these great cultures and great things that we all love to see, whether its Ancient Rome or the Viking time period, or any of these sorts of things. We will be doing some of those, and some of those will be flashbacks in issues and some of them may be entire story arcs or issues that take place at a different time. It is very much a story that’s focused on the present and the modern day Valiant Universe, so anything we do way back in history will always be informing the present
CC: One Eternal Warrior story that really sticks out for me is Greg Pak’s story on the series, “Eternal Emperor,” which actually takes place in the same time period as RAI. Will you be exploring the character in this point in his life and possibly a connection to Rai?
RV:I’m a big fan of that story arc as well. It’s all on the table—everything is there: we have two main timelines occurring in the Valiant Universe: we have one that’s happening in the modern day, and then we have one that’s happening in the year 4001, which is where Rai is based out of. As you said, the Eternal Emperor arc—Gilad is still alive at that point, because we’ve already seen the story there, so I think it would be foolish for us to not try to fill in some of those gaps—not just in 4001, but some of the times in between as well. It’s an incredibly long chunk of history that we’re able to work with again—one of the great assets of this character and all of it is on the to-do list.
CC: When you have a character that’s been around for this long, he has more wisdom of the world compared to other people. How will that come into play in this new series?
RV: Yeah, that’s the whole idea of the character is [that’s] what separates him from everybody else in the Valiant Universe: heroes, villains, man on the street, and everybody else. He’s able to have this very long-term point of view on the world, and we see this carried out some in Book of Death, whereas everyone else has a very short term, normal lifespan point of view, so it’s something that can be very alienating for him, because it does set him apart, but also it makes him unique, and it’s one of the great assets that he has.
CC: From the preview pages we’ve seen, Gilad has children, a family, and a normal life. What made you go this route with the character over what we’ve traditionally seen with a warrior fighting on the battlefield?
RV: For somebody who’s been around 5000 years, there’s going to be a lot of personal history for him as well as the history he’s witnessed, and there will be history, and he will be wise and there will be children, and those sorts of things. We’re going to expand on all of that and, for him, I think there would be a profound sense of loss being alive as long as he has, living in a world where everyone has a normal lifespan and he lives forever. I think a lot of people would think of immortality as this great blessing, but you think of all of the losses and all of the regrets that we all have in our own lives and imagine having 5000 years of those, so we’ll definitely see him deal with that as well.
CC: Can Gilad have a normal life considering he’s immortal?
RV:I don’t know that he can—certainly not normal by our standards. Everybody’s definition of normal is different, and I think that’s what life’s all about, whether you live 50 years or five thousand years. It takes time to find that level of normalcy for yourself, and I think in one way or another, that drives every character that’s ever been written, and I don’t know if he’s achieved it yet, but I certainly believe he has the potential—otherwise, why would he keep trying?
CC: What’s it been like working with Raul Allen on this book so far?
RV: Amazing. He’s such an incredible talent, seeing him work and the way he constructs the stories and the pages and the pacing the design of the page in addition to the design of the characters, with the way he’s able to convey emotion. It’s a very emotional story, [and] a lot of it hinges on facial expression and posture and mood and lighting and things like that, and he’s able to execute all those things so well. It’s really a great collaboration. He brings so much of his own creativity and artistic identity to the title and I’m really enjoying working with him.
That’s great Robert. The book reads and looks fantastic. If you are tempted to check out Wrath of Eternal Warrior, head over to our review section and there is still time to pick up the book from your digital store or at your local comic book emporium.