Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Esad Ribic
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letters: VC’s Clayton Cowles
In 1976 Jack Kirby returned to Marvel comics from his creative foray to DC Comics where he had recently ended his magnum opus of the Fourth World books. Upon his return to Marvel Kirby’s legendary creative output quickly began producing another multi-level mythological science fiction story- the Eternals. The Eternals were an ancient race of humans, over a million years old, who were experimented on by the god like Celestials and left on earth to deal with the other Celestial experiment, the evil Deviants. Sadly, and similar to the Fourth World at DC the original Eternals series was cancelled before Kirby could finish his story. Yet like many of Kirby’s creations other creators have picked up the mantle of the Eternals franchise and played with it over the years, most notably recently Neil Gaiman in 2006 and now it’s Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic’s turn to take on this classic Kirby franchise.
The Eternals #1 is both a continuation of the Eternals stories while also being a reboot, which is somehow seamlessly constructed by Gillen and Ribic. The story opens with Ikaris, one of the most recognizable of the Eternals, waking from his latest resurrection in the Exclusion, the South Pole complex for the Eternal race. When we last saw the Eternals they were all dead or dying during the invasion of the Dark Celstials, the Final Host, in the first arc of Jason Aaron’s current Avengers run. Resurrection (similar to the current state of the X-Men) is a new phenomenon or a new addition to this new take on the Eternals, as are the Hickman-esque text pieces that flush out the current status quo of the Eternals. The Eternals #1 begins as an exploration of who the Eternals are today, with their various domiciles spread across the earth and the current living Eternals and their state of affairs. Ikaris is ordered to awake Sprite, and Eternal who is eternally an 11-year-old and this causes him to mischief and misdeeds as an outlet for his frustrations for being forever a child. Sprite was the antagonist for the Neil Gaiman’s 2006 Eternals mini-series and has seemingly been imprisoned since then yet Ikaris is ordered to set him free. Sprite quickly does what Sprite does and a whimsical romp through the streets of New York brings about a cameo by an armored Avenger and a confrontation a Deviant in the sewars beneath Manhattan. Yet this volume (or at least the first arc) looks to be more of a mystery rather than a straight up mythical sci-fi superhero story that most Eternals stories devolve into. Ikaris and Sprite are soon tasked with finding a murderer that takes them to the depths of space and an encounter with an ancient and maybe most famous Eternal of all. With a great final page that will leave the reader wanting more this volume of the Eternals looks to be an amazing visual and reading experience.
The Eternals #1 was a literary and visual experience. Kieron Gillen is an amazing writer and may be entering into his imperial phase with the books he’s currently putting out. I was surprised when I first saw he was attached to the Eternals but it is clear that Gillen has an affinity to this cast of characters and their mythological sci-fi roots are a perfect fit to his strengths as a writer. Esad Ribic’s dense and beautiful artwork was a tour de force of a visual experience. The grandeur of the Eternal locales are absolutely amazing and the Eternals themselves have never looked better. Matthew Wilson’s colors lend depth to the artwork and the water color pallet he chose was a perfect fit. I hope that this team stays together for the foreseeable future as I truly want to see what heights they can take the Eternals to.
Verdict: Honestly Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic should be enough to sell any book but the Eternals #1 is a truly beautiful first issue that is full of great character moments, plenty of action, an intriguing story and beautiful artwork that makes it a Buy!