This November sees the release of The Eternals from Marvel studios, the long-awaited adaptation of Jack Kirby’s epic alien adventures. To coincide with that release, we have an all-new series collected in Eternals Vol. 1 : Only Death is Eternal by comic megastars Kieron Gillen (The Wicked + The Divine, Darth Vader, Young Avengers) and Esad Ribic (Thor, Secret Wars) which seeks to introduce the team to a new audience whilst also bringing them to prominence in the current Marvel Universe. For millions of years, one hundred Eternals have roamed the Earth, secret protectors of humanity. Without them, mankind would be smears between the teeth of the demon-like Deviants. Their war has waged for all time, echoing in myths and nightmares. But today, the Eternals face something new: change! Can they — or anyone on Earth — survive their discovery? An Eternal has been murdered by one of their own, and this may not be the last such killing. But Sersi’s number one suspect is — Thena?!
Originally created by the legendary Jack Kirby in 1976, The Eternals are a race of humans that have been evolved to a higher state of power by the alien Celestials and defend Earth against their evil counterparts – The Deviants. They have had a handful of appearances in modern Marvel comics, most notably the 2006 series by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr, but the characters have mostly been dormant in recent years. Their MCU debut however is the perfect excuse to revive these characters and expose them to a whole new generation.
The characters are in perfect hands when it comes to comic creators. Kieron Gillen has an excellent track record when it comes to mythology and world building (just look at his work on The Wicked + The Divine and Journey Into Mystery), so he is a natural fit for reintroducing these characters. Having been killed off in a previous storyline, Gillen has the opportunity to give these characters a clean slate whilst also building on their past history. Upon reflecting on the Eternals’ past and the cycle of death and resurrection they endure, Ikaris is ready to have another go at life, but finds himself and the rest of the group thrust into a new scenario which sows seeds of distrust amongst them. Gillen is highly adept when it comes to character work and does a tremendous job on re-establishing the group with Sprite being a particular highlight. He also still has a masterful handle of Marvel’s villains with his Thanos proving just as captivating as his work with Loki and Mephisto.
Esad Ribic is one of the go-to artists when it comes to epic and fantasy storytelling. His work on Thor was some of the best featured in the series and Secret Wars was even more epic thanks to his art. His style is a perfect fit for the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe The Eternals tend to occupy. His revival of the characters as they awaken to their new surroundings is particularly stunning.
This is a perfect introduction to new readers who are curious about the team before seeing their cinematic debut and is a promising sign for The Eternals future role in the larger Marvel Universe.
Eternals Vol. 1 : Only Death is Eternal is out 14 September 2021 from Marvel
(9781302925475, p/b, £14.99)
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