Tuesday, August 31, 2021

#IReadsYou Review: THE ETERNALS #1

THE ETERNALS #1 (2021)

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Kieron Gillen
ART: Esad Ribić
COLORS: Matthew Wilson
LETTERS: VC's Clayton Cowles
EDITOR: Darren Shan
VARIANT COVER ARTISTS: Jen Bartel; Russell Dauterman with Matthew Wilson; Arthur Adams with Jason Keith; Alan Davis with Nolan Woodard; Mike Del Mundo; Inhyuk Lee; Peach Momoko; Jenny Frison; Rian Gonzales; Greg Land with Frank D'armata; Leinil Franics Yu with Sunny Gho; Otto Schmidt; Takeshi Okazaki with Edgar Delgado; Khary Randolph with Emilio Lopez
[The following artists are not credited as variant cover artists in the comic book, but Diamond Comics Distributors is offering issues with their cover art for sale: Alex Ross; Mahmud Asrar; Dave Johnson; Frank Cho; Jeff Johnson; J. Scott Campbell; Todd Nauck; Dan Panosian; Joe Quesada; Ron Lim; Walter Simonson; Superlog; Skottie Young]
32pp, Color, $4.99 U.S. (Jan. 6, 2021)

The Eternals created by Jack Kirby

“Only Death is Eternal,” Part 1

The Eternals are a race of humanoids in the Marvel Comics universe.  They were created by legendary writer-artist and comics creator, Jack Kirby, and first appeared in The Eternals #1 (cover dated: July 1976).  The Eternals are described as an offshoot of the evolutionary process that created sentient life on Earth.  They were created by the immensely powerful alien race, the Celestials, along with the Eternals' destructive counterparts, the Deviants.

The Eternals first comic book series ran for 19 issues from 1976 to 1977, with issue #19 having a January 1978 cover date.  In addition to Jack Kirby's original series, there have been miniseries starring The Eternals in 1985-86, 2006-07, and 2008-09.  In the 2018-launched Avengers comic book series (written by Jason Aaron), the Eternals discovered that their creators, the Celestials, preferred humans over them, which lead to the mass suicide and death of the Eternals (as seen in the Avengers story arc, “The Final Host”).

Now, the Eternals return in a new comic book series.  The Eternals (2021) is written by Kieron Gillen; drawn by Esad Ribić; colored by Matthew Wilson; and lettered by Clayton Cowles.  In the new series, the Eternals face something new to them – change.

The Eternals #1 opens in “the Exclusion,” one of a system of sub-dimensional threads in “The Machine” (apparently the Earth-side system by which the Eternals teleport).  The Machine also narrates the story, which opens with the resurrection of Ikaris, the last Eternal to die.  However, the “Eternal Prime,” Zuras, has a surprise for the ever-direct Ikaris.  Ikaris must awaken and take charge of Sprite, the murderous prankster Eternal.

Arriving in New York, Ikaris and Sprite meet Iron Man.  Then, it is time to do their job, protect humans from “the Deviants,” especially those that become monsters.  While the mismatched duo is away, however, new death in a familiar guise comes for the Eternals.

THE LOWDOWN:  I recently read the original The Eternals #1, from 1976, which was written and drawn by series creator Jack Kirby.  I did this in preparation for the new series and for the (eventually) upcoming film, The Eternals, from Walt Disney Pictures and Marvel Studios.

First, let me speak to the beauty of The Eternals 2021.  I first discovered artist Esad Ribic when he drew the final two issues of the X-Men miniseries, X-Men: Children of the Atom (1999-2000), that was begun by writer Joe Casey and artist Steve Rude.  I was not crazy about Ribic's art in that series, but it was clear to me that this artist had huge potential as a comic book illustrator.

I must say that he has developed way beyond what I expected.  Here, Ribic's beautiful illustrations and Matthew Wilson's supernatural coloring combine to create gorgeous art that recalls the work of the late master, Moebius.  The graphical storytelling reads and feels like superhero comics as real science fiction comics.

Kieron Gillen's story is intriguing and the script is straightforward and clean.  His dialogue and The Machine's exposition made it easy for me to follow the story, setting, and plot/concept.  Gillen is going to make me spend some money on this comic book series.  So, if you don't want to spend more money on comics, dear readers, avoid The Eternals #1 2021.  If you are just looking for a really good first issue, spend it on this one … which has a killer last story page.

I READS YOU RECOMMENDS:  Fans of the Eternals and of good Marvel comic books will want The Eternals 2021.

9 out of 10

[This comic book includes a one-page tribute to former Marvel Comics publisher, Mike Hobson, who died in November 2020.]

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"


The text is copyright © 2021 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint or syndication rights and fees.


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