The Eternals #1 – Reviews Of Old Comics
It’s really sad when I want to review an old Marvel comic like The Eternals and I can’t use my Marvel Unlimited membership. I wanted to review this from the first time I read it and saw that it drew inspiration from Erich von Däniken’s book Chariots of the Gods.
I don’t buy the “ancient astronauts” theory. It is a little entertaining to watch how proponents work evidence to meet their theory. I watch them ignore basic elements of artistic representation to make ancient works of art literal interpretations rather than rich, symbolic visual poetry. I find the thought that a lack of modern scientific discoveries made ancient man less intelligent almost offensive.
Writer, Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: John Verpoorten
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino
I cannot overstate the artistic genius of Jack Kirby. Here, it is in its full glory. Not a square inch of a panel is wasted. Kirby’s style may not appeal to some, but the composition is astounding. While dynamic, the perspective is almost spot-on. We even get a taste of the infamous “kirby dots” which always is a thrill when reading a comic by the King. Because I read a reprint, I can’t speak to the coloring.
The story is a separate issue. It is constructed very well, but the premise works solely in a comic book. I don’t know how much stock he took with von Däniken’s theory of ancient visitation, but leave it to Jack Kirby to make the alien astronauts giant aliens that created two hidden superhuman races of man.
Many liken the Eternals to Kirby’s New Gods, but warring superhuman races is about where it ends. New Gods is a space opera, while the Eternals is more grounded on Earth. This works better for me as a concept. However, I find myself enjoying New Gods more because of the space opera aspect of it.
In creating the Eternals with such a different premise from the New Gods, Kirby proved his creative vision. Kirby took inspiration from Chariots of the Gods, but goes off on his own afterwards. In my research, I found mention that this series was meant to be set outside of Marvel continuity. However, I find no firm sourcing of that claim. Later issues even disprove this with mentions of Marvel characters. I think that the various retcons and attempts to put the Eternals into the main Marvel Universe weaken their story, in my opinion.
This issue was reprinted as part of the Marvel True Believers reprints of key issues in August 2017. It can also be found online as part of Eternals by Jack Kirby Vol. 1, available on Comixology and Kindle.
Final Rating: 8.5 (out of 10)