Valiant Comics is going back, way back to the 14th Century for inspiration for their next story. A new one-shot coming in April 2017, Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight, will crossover the Anni-Padda brothers with the lore of King Arthur and his knights of the round table as Aram (aka Armstrong), Gilad (the Eternal Warrior), and Ivar (the Timewalker) have to take on a monstrous version of the Green Knight. They'll do so under the direction of writer Fred Van Lente and artist Cary Nord. Van Lente's experience with these three brothers is extensive, and his love for Arthurian lore positions him nicely to handle the story.
"I am a big Arthurian nut, since I was like in the 6th grade," Van Lente told ComicBook.com in an exclusive announcement interview. There are many different versions of the Green Knight that have graced the lore, and he's working specifically from a 14th Century non-rhyming poem called "Gawain and the Green Knight." What, you don't just have 14th Century writing sitting around to inspire you?
Van Lente is creating an "anonymous version" of the story of the Green Knight, which he says may be "written by one of the brothers themselves," similar to how he handed the Epic of Gilgamesh in Valiant's "Immortals Tale" with Clayton Henry.
"The Green Knight is a monstrous figure who appears at Camelot around Christmastime and offers a challenge to the Round Table. The Green Knight allows one of them there to deliver a fatal blow to him, if that knight then allows the same blow to be delivered unto him one year later," he said of the story. "The person who accepts this challenge is none other than Sir Gilad, aka the Eternal Warrior. When the Green Knight seems perfectly cool after his head is cut off, and tells Gilad that he'll see him later, the Eternal Warrior knows that he's dealing with some kind of new immortal he's never seen before. Under the advice of the Lady of the Lake, the Geomancer of Arthurian times, he gathers his two brothers together to go out and figure out what the mystery behind this warrior is."
For those unfamiliar with the Immortal Brothers, Van Lente sums them up, and why they have clashed for Centuries, thusly:
"Aram is super-strong, Ivar is super-smart, and Gilad is super-brutal. That leads to radically different worldviews. So when thrown together, they have completely different approaches to solving problems. Thus, they bicker constantly whenever they're together—they are constantly trying to one-up each other, and prove their way is right."
Van Lente's signature style that combines comedy, drama, and action will be present in Immortal Brothers, he promised, while trying to capture "the same kind of epic tone [they] strove for with Gilgamesh." The story will focus on the "character moments between the three brothers," but also has a fairy tale element. That's because in coming back to Armstrong, Van Lente couldn't resist a little shot with Archer, as well.
"There's a framing device, involving Archer reading the tale to his girlfriend Faith Herbert [of Harbinger fame] while she's sick with con crud that is very consciously invoking The Princess Bride," the writer teased.
Artist Cary Nord gets to cut loose with the sword and sorcery he's known for from his Conan the Barbarian run, "but with an Arthurian twist," Van Lente teased enthusiastically. "There's a lot of weird monsters from Celtic folklore in this one too. I can't wait to see what he does with it!"
In addition to Arthurian legend as inspiration, the format of the tale is influenced by Barry Windsor-Smith's story from Archer & Armstrong #8 (the original flavor), "Three Musketeers." It's an issue with Arthurian flare that Van Lente calls "arguably the best single original Valiant issue of all time," so it sounds like a good one to draw from. Three other one-shots will ship throughout Summer 2017 that similarly honor and draw inspiration from some of classic Valiant's most memorable stories, so start speculating which stories and which characters now!
Immortal Brothers: The Tale of the Green Knight is a 48-page one-shot shipping April 12, 2017 with a $4.99 cover price. Final order cut-off for the issue is March 20, 2017. Written by Fred Van Lente, with interior art by Cary Nord, and four available covers from Cary Nord, a wraparound by Mico Suayan, Marc Laming, and J.M. Dragunas. You can see all four covers in full in the gallery below.