The darkest hour of the Eternal Warrior’s long life has arrived with blood and torment. Behind every wall and around every corner of the Dying One’s “LABYRINTH,” new and sadistic ways to burn, tear, and break Gilad Anni-Padda await. As the Eternal Warrior’s greatest enemy inches closer to unlocking the secret of never-ending life, is all hope lost for Earth’s immortal soldier?
Right from the get go, Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #9 is a very cathartic issue, because after two issues of being repeatedly beaten, tortured and killed, Gilad Anni Padda is finally free to strike back at the man who has had him captive for the past umpteen days in a vast labyrinth.
As a reader, it’s fun to see The Eternal Warrior cut loose as the series marches to the conclusion of Labyrinth.
Labyrinth didn’t start out as one of my favourite tales featuring The Eternal Warrior, although a part of that was surely because of how much I enjoyed the dynamically explosive prelude issues before the story proper got under way, but as the issues progressed I began to really appreciate the way Robert Venditti has framed the story; there has been dialogue from the first four issues that’s played a part in the current arc, and hints thrown about what is going to happen right from the first issue. The long buildup of this series, despite being two different arcs (and a prelude) isn’t really something that you see as much in comics nowadays with the constant reboots and relaunches, and I’ll admit to having to go back to those earlier issues to see what else I could catch that I may have missed.
Typically the third chapter may not always be an ideal place to jump into a series, but the way in which the story has been framed here will almost allow you to follow along with relative ease. Oh, you’ll miss somethings, and others won’t mean as much to you without context, but you won’t be completely lost if Wrath Of The Eternal Warrior #9 is your first comic in the series.
The visuals in this issue are consistent with the other comics in the series (aside from the prelude issues) and while I wasn’t quite taken with the art with the first issue, it has grown on me since; there’s a simple effectiveness to the line work and colours that taken in conjunction with the layouts and the way that the pages have been put together paneling within each comic which lends a feeling of simplistic brutality that is brilliantly juxtaposed to the advanced technology of the labyrinth itself.
When it comes to the dialogue, there are some hokey moments that feel at odds with the tone of the comic; almost as if Venditti has taken inspiration from the oldest of old school action movies (the Expendables level of cheese) in a couple of scenes. It’ not enough to take away my enjoyment at all, but it’s a little odd all the same. That said, this is still one of the best series on the shelf today, and you owe it to yourself to give it a read.
Writer: Robert Venditti Artists: Raul Allen & Patricia Martin
Art Assistant: David Astruga Additional Colours: Borja Pindado
Story: 8.75 Art: 8.75 Overall 8.75 Recommendation: Buy