The Eternals #1 – Reviews Of Old Comics

blogheaderIt’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.

The Eternals #1

July 1976
Marvel Comics

Writer, Penciller: Jack Kirby
Inker: John Verpoorten
Colorist: Glynis Wein
Letterer: Gaspar Saladino


Doctor Damien, his daughter Margo and their assistant Ike Harris come across a fantastic archaelogical find. It’s a vast complex of proof of ancient visitation of alien”gods” to Incan civilization. Ike Harris records their find, all the while giving the impression to his companions that he has first hand knowledge of these visitors and is older than he appears.
At that time, over the ocean off the South American shore, a jet pilot finds himself engulfed by strange energy emanating from under the sea. He ejects, only to find himself engulfed by that same energy and is consumed along with his jet. We discover that he was killed by a hidden civilization of monstrous creatures called Deviants. One of them, Kro, is sent to destroy the beacon before the ancient gods can return and once again try to destroy them.
Back in the Inca ruins, Ike Harris explains to Doctor Damien and his daughter how the ancient gods came to Earth its pre-history. They experimented on ancient apes and created three new species. Deviants were unstable and consigned to constant war. Humans were a balance of forces and the inheritors of the Earth. Finally, the Eternals were immune to time and death and lived apart, almost like gods themselves. The space gods returned in the time of the Incas to check on their experiments, like they had many times before. Now Ike shows that the space gods are returning again.
Kro and his deviants race to the ruins to destroy the beacon, but find it activated by Ikaris of the Eternals, who accompanied Doctor Damien as Ike Harris. Ikaris uses his Eternal abilities to defend his companions and attack the Deviants. The Deviants use a weapon called a shroud to delay Ikaris, but before they can destroy the beacon, the giant ship of the space gods arrives.


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)