Comic Book Review: Eternals #1

The Revolution has looked forward to Eternals #1. I was a big fan of both the Eternals and the Inhumans as a kid. I loved their Kirby Sci Fi origins and wild designs. I don’t really know what has gone on with the Eternals over the past 10 years, so I’m looking forward to reading this issue. There is no doubt that Marvel loaded this title with a talented creative team in Gaiman and Romita. I’m working my way through my pot of Café Bustelo and am ready for this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Neil Gaiman
Penciler: John Romita, Jr.
Inker: Danny Miki

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: This issue starts with a young intern named Mark Curry on duty at a hospital. He is catching a little sleep and has a bizarre dream involving the Eternals and the Deviants. Mark wakes up and is approached by Ikaris. Ikaris tells Mark that he is an immortal with incredible powers. Mark tells Ikaris that he is crazy and to leave him alone or he will call security. Mark then walks away and returns to his duties at the hospital.

We then cut to Mark at home watching a TV show called “Sprite.” Sprite is a tweener boy who is a huge his with tweeners across the nation. Mark hears someone tapping on his apartment’s window and sees Ikaris standing on his fire escape. Ikaris asks Mark if he has ever wondered about the origin of life. Ikaris tells Mark that he is not human.

Mark tells Ikaris to leave before he gets his gun and shoots him. Ikaris tells Mark that he knows that Mark doesn’t like guns. Then, Ikaris tells Mark if he wants to know more that he will be waiting for Mark on the observation desk of the Royer building. With that Ikaris jumps off the fire escape and disappears. Mark stands there dumbfounded that Ikaris knew that he didn’t like guns.

We then shift to Sersi at her friend Abigal’s apartment. Sersi tells Abigal that she is starting a career as a party planner. That her first gig is for the Vorozheikan Embassy.

We hop over to Ikaris standing on top of the Royer building. His mind flashes back to a conversation he had with Thena about why the Eternals feel at home in cold freezing climates. Ikaris’ flashback is interrupted by two men in suits that ask if Ikaris is Mr. Harris. Ikaris says “yes.” The men then attack Ikaris. They toss a bomb at Ikaris that blows up in front of him.

We then slip over to the Vorozheikian Embassy where Sersi (The Revolution digs women with long dark hair. Muy caliente!) is meeting with the ambassador, Mr. Druig. (Druig is Ikaris’ somewhat evil cousin.) Druig says that he wants all of New York’s rich and famous people invited. Druig also wants all of New York’s scientists invited as well. Sersi leaves and then Druig’s assistant says that he is worried what will happen if Moscow finds out about their plan. Druig says that Moscow will never know.

We cut to Mark at work at the Emergency Room. He is informed of a new patient who was injured during the bombing at the Royster Tower. Mark goes to the patient’s room and sees an injured Ikaris in the bed.

We then cut to Thena at her job with Stark Laboratories. Tony Stark and an Army General appear for a test of a new weapon for the military. Thena demonstrates the new weapon that creates a flash burst that temporarily blinds enemy combatants but does no permanent damage to the eyes.

We slip back to Ikaris’ hospital room. Ikaris tells Mark about the Celestials and how they came as the First Horde to Earth. The Celestials chose the proto-people, the early hominids to help evolve. That the Celestials built giant machines that were like nano-circuits, only the other way around. Basically macro-circuits. With these machines they turned some of the early cave people into the Eternals. Then they turned some of the other proto-people into Deviants. The Celestial then left Earth.

The Deviants reproduced like rabbits and took over the Earth and enslaved normal early humans. The Eternals then took on the Deviants in a great war. The Eternals then called the Celestials for help. The Second Horde came to Earth and destroyed the Deviants. Only a few thousand Deviants survived and they never regained their numbers.

That freed from slavery, Humanity grew and flourished. That the Eternals helped humans by encouraging them and inspiring them. The Eternals taught humans how to plant grain, work metal and to read and write. Ikaris told Mark that he taught the Egyptians writing and they named him Osiris.

The Celestials returned as the Third Horde around thirty years ago to judge humanity like they had judged the Deviants. Ikaris doesn’t really remember much after that. Mark isn’t buying Ikaris’ story. Ikaris says that the fact that he is almost completely healed should prove that he is not human. Mark responds that it is a weird world full of metahumans. We see a panel shot of two individuals listening to Mark and Ikaris’ conversation over a speaker.

We then move forward to a little later. Ikaris is in his hospital bed watching a show called “America’s Newest Super Hero.” It is a reality show like American Idol where the winner becomes a government sanctioned super hero. The Wasp is one of the co-hosts of the TV show. The task for the episode is filming a PSA, a Public Service Announcement. They film the PSA at the set of Sprite’s TV show. The PSA delivers the message that if you are going to be a super hero then get registered. It isn’t just a good idea. It’s the law. (That was a cool little nod to Civil War.)

During this same time, we see Mark talking to two unknown men about the fact that Ikaris is totally delusional. The two men tell Mark that they can take him back to a place where he can’t harm anyone. Mark leads the two men to Ikaris’ room. Ikaris says hi to Mark and tells him that Sprite is one of them, too. Mark then gives Ikaris a shot that knocks him out. We then see the two men who are with Mark. They are the two men that attacked Ikaris at the Royster Tower. End of issue.

The Good: Eternals #1 was pretty good. Initially, I was a little worried about the writing for this issue. Gaiman is talented, but his style hasn’t always suited my tastes. I was concerned that Eternals #1 might be too slow and have ponderous and rambling dialogue. That was not the case at all with this issue.

Yes, the pace was slow and steady. However, Gaiman did a nice job laying a strong foundation for the remaining five issues of this mini-series. Gaiman properly explained the origins of the Eternals, Deviants and Celestials without this issue seeming to be one giant boring flashback. That is not always an easy thing to do so Gaiman deserves credit for pulling it off with this issue.
I haven’t read much concerning the Eternals over the past ten years. I’m not really too sure what was going on with these characters. I think that Gaiman has an interesting story set up with three main questions spinning out of this first issue. What happened to the Eternals to cause them to lose their memories and assume lives as normal humans? What is Druig plotting? And, who these mysterious gentlemen are who attacked Ikaris? Gaiman did a good enough job teasing us with these mysteries and getting us to want to buy the next issue. It worked with me.

I liked the American Idol styled super hero reality show that Gaiman cooked up. The PSA was a nice touch to tie this mini-series into the events going on in Civil War. I appreciate it when writers can creatively and naturally tie their story into main events going on in other titles. It was subtle and all that was needed. Anything more in depth would have begun to feel like a shill for Civil War.

I enjoyed Gaiman’s dialogue. It flowed well and was enjoyable to read. Gaiman is doing a nice job developing each character with their own unique voice. I’m looking forward to seeing Gaiman flesh out these characters and put his own unique stamp on them. The Eternals are great characters with plenty of potential. I think that their cosmic origins will play into Gaiman’s talents.

Romita’s art was as solid as always. I have always enjoyed Romita’s art. Romita serves up a nice looking comic. I never really liked Kirby’s actual art (I know, total heresy.) but Kirby’s character designs are awesome. A Kirby designed character is always wild and unusual. You can tell one from a mile away. I love when another artist draws a Kirby designed character. Romita’s Celestials look fantastic.

The Bad: This issue didn’t have much action and the storyline moved at a slow pace. I know that all the set up was necessary, but this first issue could have probably moved along at a slightly faster pace.

Overall: Eternals #1 was a good issue. I think that this mini-series is going to be pretty good. This issue is not action packed nor is it fast paced. If you like action or get bored with slow stories then this is not the comic book for you. However, I would recommend Eternals to everyone else.