The final chapter of Eternal Warrior: Days Of Steel leads to an ending much more surprising and epic than expected. Read on to find out why.
The official description from Valiant:
The Eternal Warrior’s gambit to save an oppressed people…has seemingly failed. Will he fall short of his mission on behalf of the Geomancer? With steel sparking and axes clashing in battle, the hero of countless wars since time immemorial may yet find success… by laying down his weapons and yielding the fight.
Writer Peter Milligan had me perplexed as I struggled to anticipate the ending of this three issue mini-series. He did it in such a way that the reader feels as doubtful and confused, as Gilad Anni-Padda, that his faith was misplaced and he doomed those he meant to protect. Admittedly, as the ending was revealed, it all seemed so simple, but crafted in such a way by Milligan that it’s a satisfying payoff. Gilad’s a warrior, a fighter and the cold taste of steel is his ultimate solution against oppression. Milligan leads the reader down that path as well but, it’s a clever diversion to the real lesson Gilad will learn in the end.
The meek shall inherit the earth but in a world of bloody battles, swords and axes it’s difficult to see how that could possibly be true. Milligan sets readers up in such a way that the feeling of hope is all but drained from your mind. In the Eternal Warrior’s world, battles are won at the end of a sword but Milligan’s ultimate ending is a long-tail inspiration that is decades in the making of good’s triumph over evil. The Franks are a people that must be inspired subconsciously rather than saved by a single savior in war to win their freedom back from the Magyars.
Cary Nord’s work is a beautiful compliment to Milligan’s words and his ability and use of expressions bring the visuals to life. His take on the “hero” Falk is almost a cartoonish caricature but gives a true sense of how someone so weak and frail should look in this violent world. Nord can be as expressive in the violence as he is with faces and emotion. Part of the reason you buy in to the belief of Gilad’s brutish and unforgiving ways is because Nord paints an equally graphic picture of his reality. His work is incredibly balanced as the panels of violent battles hold equal weight as his illustration of a minstrel singing a song of those battles. Brain Reber’s colors can’t be overlooked as they are spot-on with the right timing and tone of bright colors as well as drab colorless grays. Again, a great balance that this creative team displays.
In the end Gilad’s struggles to teach and train someone, so obviously not willing to be a warrior, is frustrating and hopeless. But within that a good story is told and by the final pages Gilad is rewarded and so is the reader. While this feels like it could have been shorter, like an oversized one-shot, it was about as long as it needed to be. Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel is actually quite simple story on it’s own but this creative teams execution is what makes it great. If you were asked to show what makes comics such an amazing medium then Eternal Warrior: Days of Steel would be a perfect example.