Gilad Anni-Padda, The Eternal Warrior, has apparently won his battle against the gods, and it is decades, if not centuries, past the "end of the old days," which was apparently brought about through Gilad's actions. Eternal Emperor Gilad leads a group of men, women, and children who are scraping out an idyllic existence through sustenance farming, and it appears this was what Gilad wanted for humanity, and his granddaughter. It also appears that in the year 4001 AD though, Gilad might finally be realizing that it's not necessarily the gods that were keeping humanity from his living out his idea of an idyllic life. Men are building cities again, digging up the old machines, and reverting to their old ways...ways that Gilad is determined to kill.
The world of the Valiant U 2.0's 4001 AD is drastically different from from that of the Valiant 1.0's. There are no mile-spires here. Instead an almost medieval existence is being lived by those humans still alive, and Gilad, although called an "Eternal Emperor," doesn't seem to have much under his control aside from a ragtag tribe of men, women and children. Apparently whatever Gilad did (aside from killing the Earth Goddess last issue) during his war against the gods appears to have brought about the end of contemporary civilization. Writer Greg Pak utilizes the backdrop of Eternal Warrior #5 to write a strong "rural vs urban" theme into his opening chapter of this newest arc of Gilad's title series. The city dwellers are bad. They deal in sex slavery (apparently) as well as pollution, mass destruction, and every type of atypical evil that atypical country dwellers assign to urbanites. One has to wonder though, is Pak getting at something deeper here, given the circumstances of how mankind has turned out without the "gods?" Even the "Godkiller" Gilad is wondering if the gods were the source of the evil. It's a complicated intellectual/philosophical quandary that is much more deep than your average superhero comics fair, and a reason why Valiant's books are so much better than the usual superhero fair.
Artist Robert Gill brings Pak's philosophically interesting story to beautifully detailed and imaginative life. The strange, nuclear powered, half mechanical bison/buffalo that attacks Gilad's group is weirdly and interestingly imaginative. He also manages to bring to life all of the regular "post-apocalyptic" tropes like junk cities, Mad Max like road warriors, and poor farmers to interesting life. That's no small feat considered these tropes have been used over and over again in science fiction, and at this point have all begun to look alike across multiple genres.
I'm intrigued by "Eternal Emperor." Is this going to set the stage for how the Valiant 2.0 U's future is going to be portrayed as canon? Or is Gilad going to realize that his murder of the gods didn't accomplish his goals and instead provide him with a reason to change his actions and and become the Fist and Steel again (perhaps through some time travel?)? I have no idea, but I'm definitely going to stick around and find out.