Following the conclusion of Wrath of the Eternal Warrior last year, Valiant's Eternal Warrior is getting an "awakening" in a new standalone one-shot coming May 10. Eternal Warrior: Awakening by Robert Venditti and Renato Guedes goes back to the "earliest adventures" of Gilad Anni-Padda, and is said to homage his original first adventure in the 1990s Eternal Warrior #1 by Jim Shooter and John Dixon.
Valiant's Eternal Warrior lives up to his name - he's an immortal soldier and general who has fought in Earth's greatest wars going back millenia. In this new standalone tale however, it reveals an episode where he loses his memory and is remade by the environment and the people around him.
"On the brink of carving out victory in the most violent battle of his life, Gilad Anni-Padda suffers a devastating injury. He awakens weeks later in a strange land, nursed back to health but with no memory of his past," reads the publisher's description of the one-shot. "A tribe has shown him compassion in an age of cruelty, and he will return their gift in kind. Now the real violence will begin..."
Eternal Warrior: Awakening will be the second of four planned one-shots celebrating Valiant's 25th anniversary, and honroring older stories.
Newsarama spoke with Venditti, who is returning to the character after writing his previous ongoing, to elaborate on this throwback tale and how it fits into Valiant's history.
Newsarama: Robert, you've touched on the Eternal Warrior before - how'd you come to be writing this new one-shot?
Robert Venditti: I always hoped that when Wrath of the Eternal Warrior ended, it wouldn't be my last time writing the character. I enjoyed writing him too much. So when Warren Simons reached out to me about this one-shot, I jumped at the chance.
Nrama: This looks to harken back to the original, original Eternal Warrior #1 from the 1990s. How would you describe the connection?
Venditti: As far as a mission statement, I’d say that’s accurate in the sense that - as was the case with the original Eternal Warrior #1 - you could pick up that one issue and know everything you needed to know about the character. That’s very much what we’re trying to do here. But in terms of the story, Eternal Warrior: Awakening is quite different. Gilad is in a much different headspace than he was in that first issue back in the '90s.
Nrama: What's your take on the Eternal Warrior - how would you sum him up?
Venditti: I think there’s a tendency to interpret Gilad as very dark and grim, since he’s been a warrior for, well, eternity. It’s right there in the title. But I see him as an eternal optimist. He believes humanity is far more good than bad, and that the battle of good versus evil will be won one day. Otherwise, what makes him get out of bed and sacrifice so much to keep going? Really, I look at the Eternal Warrior, and beneath all the battles and bloodshed, I see an unending wellspring of hope.
Nrama: And according to the information Valiant has provided, in this one-shot he has amnesia and remakes himself on a blank slate into a brutal, tribal warrior. What's going on here?
Venditti: I wouldn’t say that’s exactly it, but he does start the story with amnesia. Warren and I both thought it would be an interesting approach to have the reader discover who Gilad is at the same time he did. To share that journey.
Nrama: This is a one-shot, but could you see yourself doing more with Gilad down the road?
Venditti: There’s always a chance. I feel so fortunate to have spent so much time with these characters already, like X-O Manowar for example. I spent five years writing that character. Now, I’m looking forward to reading all of the things Matt Kindt has to say about Aric. I don’t feel any territoriality about these sorts of things. I love the characters, and I want their stories to continue.