Marvel is releasing “War of Kings: Warriors” online through their Digital Comics website. The premise of the series is to provide more room for character work with Gladiator, Crystal, Blastaar and Lilandra. The first character’s story is now complete.
Title: War of Kings: Warriors – Gladiator
Author: Christos N. Gage
Illustrator(s): Mahmud Asrar (pencils), Jeffray Huet and Mahmud Asrar (inks), Val Staples (colours)
Cover Price: Free online, with a subscription to the service. Print copies will be $3.99 US each, collecting the stories for two characters per issue.(Gladiator and Blastaar in #1, Crystal and Lilandra in #2).
Kallark has acted as Gladiator, Praetor of the Shi’Ar Imperial Guard for centuries. Originally designed as a Superman analogy, he’s been set apart from his Distinguished Counterpart through his acceptance of a soldier’s lethal way. He’s shown a blind and unflappable loyalty to the position of Shi’Ar Emperor over the years, regardless of who had that position. This story reveals why he is loyal to the job rather than the person, as well as the origin of his powers.
Finally explaining why he’s loyal to the job and not the person. It’s taken over 30 years to get there, but they got there, and it makes sense.
Kallark had information the others didn’t. Personally, I think the story would have worked better if he hadn’t. With that information, the decision made here may not have been repeated over the years as it has been. If he didn’t know, then it would have shown his true resolve.
This feels original, telling Kallark’s backstory for the first time, and letting us monitor his thoughts for once. When you model a character on another company’s product, you either use them just the once, or you make sure you set them aside from the other one. This adds more to the latter end, filling in backstory that doesn’t fit Kal-El. I give it 5 out of 6.
The artwork is well done. I can’t say I recognize Mahmud Asrar by name, but his work is effective, showing story and emotions in equal parts. I give it 5 out of 6.
The story works well. It’s fairly short, but it fills in a lot of details that were previously missing for this character. I give it 5 out of 6.
The characterization of Kallark works well. It not only explains his loyalty, but it explains his distant nature and his tendency to hold himself apart from those around him. I give it 5 out of 6.
The emotional response is good. The story didn’t play out as I’d expected, and it did satisfactorily fill in gaps in a back story I’d been wondering about for years. I give it 5 out of 6.
The flow is smooth. There’s a pretty lengthy flashback given the framing story, but given the speeds at which Kallark’s mind has to move to do what he does, that’s not a problem. I give it 5 out of 6.
Overall, this is a worthwhile look at Kallark’s history, which puts his actions in the main “War of Kings” series in a new light. I give it 5 out of 6.
In total, War of Kings: Warriors – Gladiator receives 35 out of 42.
War of Kings Checklist
- War of Kings #1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, complete series
- Guardians of the Galaxy #8-10, 13-17
- Nova #23-29
- Secret Invasion: War of Kings
- War of Kings: Ascension #1-4
- War of Kings: Darkhawk #1-2
- War of Kings: The Savage World of Skaar
- War of Kings: Warriors (online now, print in July and August) Gladiator, Crystal, Blastaar and Lilandra
- X-Men: Kingbreaker #1-4