When you’re immortal, 20 years might not seem like a lot of time. Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel #2 from Valiant takes place over that time span, all while Gilad is waiting to see the result of a single choice he made. It’s still an excellent read, especially in context with the first issue, but the pacing of the story holds this issue back as a comic on it’s own.
Gilad, the Eternal Warrior himself, saves the baby he was searching for in the first issue, and then must immediately make an important decision. There are actually twins that bear the mark of the savior, and the Geomancer was pretty vague about which one Gilad was supposed to protect. The story then follows both twins as they grow up, while Gilad checks in on the one he chose from time to time. Gone is the heavy exploration of Gilad’s faith from the first issue. He seems to be resigned to just waiting to see how the events unfold.
Peter Milligan’s script drops in on only a few moments in each of the children’s lives, and this is where the pacing suffers. A couple pages of this boy’s life here, then a few more of Gilad fighting in unimportant battles, then another page of that boy’s life there, and then next thing we know the issue is over. I can’t really tell if this book will make more sense in context with the next issue, and I’m inclined to wait and see, but it feels like it could have either been shorter and quicker to the point, or expanded across another issue. Personally, I would have preferred another issue. That way, some of the new characters Milligan introduces would have had more room to develop.
We do get see a different side of Gilad in this book. He’s actually grown to have some sympathy for the Franks, and he helps them out as much as he can in fighting against the Magyars while waiting for the savior to grow up. Where he was completely disaffected with humanity in the first issue, he’s now found some shred to latch on to.
Cary Nord’s art is still great here, though the backgrounds seem a bit less detailed. Maybe this issue was rushed? I don’t know for sure, but maybe at some point this series was made less of a priority in the wake of the next big event coming out next week, The Valiant, which also stars the Eternal Warrior.
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Whatever the case may be, this is still a pretty good comic, and the third installment may improve the way I feel about this one. The story does a good job of placing doubt in both the mind of Gilad and in the mind of the reader. It’s hard to say if everything is going to work out in the end for the hero, and at the very least, that keeps the tale interesting.
CBH Score: 3.5 of 5.0
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