We all know that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been in upheaval thanks to Covid-19, at least when it comes to release schedules. Last year we were supposed to see a few films in theatres, including Black Widow and Eternals but life and the world put those movies on hold in 2020, and hey, who knows how things will shape out in 2021. While the MCU theatrical experience may be paused, Marvel Comics continue to roll out, and this past week saw a new number one that should have gone part and parcel with its cinematic equivalent.
Like Guardians of the Galaxy before them, the Eternals are not a known property in the pop culture world, so making a film about these Godlike characters is definitely a risk, though MCU risks do tend to pay off handsomely. Meanwhile, the Eternals haven’t really played a major part in Marvel comics for years, if ever. The last notable Eternals book I can think of came way back in 2006 with a mini-series written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by John Romita Jr. Their comeback recently began in Jason Aaron’s current Avengers run, which has been a great set up for their new series.
Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Esad Ribić
This first issue of Eternals is absolutely an outstanding way to introduce them to new readers. I count myself as one of them, as I haven’t had much experience with the characters (though I am slowly making my way through last year’s massive Eternals Complete Collection Jack Kirby book). As a reader coming in with neither familiarity or bias, Kieron Gillen has done a great job introducing the characters and the mythology behind them. The concepts of their deaths and returns, how they’ve been around for millions of years, and how they tie in to the world today are all well-told, and left me wanting to read more.
Yes, there have been Eternals stories before, and the characters are informed by them, but at no point did I feel lost or confused entering into their world. There are also mysteries to be solved, family dynamics to explore and a big bad to take on. The combination of Gillen’s writing and Esad Ribić dreamlike artwork work together seamlessly, and I can’t imagine anyone not wanting to see where this series goes.
We may have to wait until November to see the Eternals come to life on a screen, but in the meantime, this new series is going to do an excellent job getting old school fans and newcomers alike excited for it, and maybe even get them to go back and read stories from the past as well.