Gilad, the Eternal Warrior pulls a Frank Castle as “Wrath of the Eternal Warrior: Prelude to Labyrinth Part Two” slowly builds to a mesmerizing bloodbath. Searching for his infant son who has been kidnapped Gilad leaves the entrails of his enemies hanging everywhere, even the off-panel violence will make you think that he may be a bit excessive. Still there’s an unapologetic vibe throughout Robert Venditti’s narrative. And it leads to even more questions.
The most probing issue is who is the creepy man watching over Gilad in part one? Is it his stolen son reincarnated or the person who took the child centuries earlier? More importantly why is there an obsessive compulsion to control Gilad? Doesn’t anyone realize that you cannot strong arm a man who is not afraid of death? He’ll just come back and pick up where he left off. One thing you will not be querying is the artwork. Juan Jose Ryp makes a meal of Gilad’s mission to retrieve his son. You will never look at the color red and its several hues quite the same way. Decapitated heads, wordless bloody gurgling and fierce facial determination will keep you riveted to every page. Still Venditti never lets you forget that as powerful as Gilad is he still has no control over what’s happening.
It must be maddening to have all these skills and still be foiled. Information is power and Gilad has very little of it. What’s more you feel his frustration as this is one of the few things in his life that will remain a mystery, then hundreds of decades later come back to bite him in the most uncomfortable of places.
While uncovering Gilad’s past as a reader you wonder how far down the rabbit hole is Venditti willing to go before you stop caring about who’s holding Gilad now and what it has to do with this prelude. Since this is the end of a two-parter you may believe that you will find some answers. But you would be wrong. After all didn’t you believe that once Gilad fought his way back to the land of the living a new adventure would begin? That’s just the thing about the Valiant Universe. It’s as if you’re dancing on the wrong side of a pin, barefoot. There’s only really one thing for certain in this comic and that’s for someone who has lived as long as the Eternal Warrior nothing is linear.