By Al Kratina
March 25, 2007 - 11:22
Neil Gaiman has been away from comic books for entirely too long. Perhaps the jet-setting, mile-a-minute lifestyle of a fantasy novelist has had too much attraction for him in recent years, with its rivers of free cocaine and harems of blonde, empty-headed socialites. However, nostalgia seems to have drawn him back to his roots as an ink-stained wretch, toiling in obscurity, penning ream after ream of romantic comic book prose rife with lofty ambitions and grand themes of love, the nature of storytelling, and in the case of The Eternals, giant robots.
Well, not robots, precisely. But enormous cosmic beings that look like robots. More specifically, in the hands of artist John Romita Jr, they look like Iron Man, back when he wore a bucket instead of a helmet. They are, of course, the Celestials, beings as old as time, who are responsible for creating two Earth races spawned from proto-humanity. The Eternals, powerful immortals, and the Deviants, a shape-changing horde of evil, have been warring for eons, while awaiting the coming of the next Host of Eternals to judge the Earth. Created by Jack Kirby, the Celestials, Eternals, and Deviants have somewhat disappeared from the Marvel Universe of late, presumably to make room for another team of teenaged X-Men. But Gaiman has revived them, as well as giving an explanation of their absence. In the first few issues of this seven issue miniseries, we are introduced to several ordinary characters, who turn out not to be so ordinary after all. Mark Curry is an intern at a hospital. Sersi is a party planner from an alternate universe where promoters are apparently not all coked-up drug tramps, and Druig is a diplomat from one of those made up comic book countries like Latveria, Kahndaq, and Liechtenstein. What brings them together, however, is the fact that they are all Eternals who have had their memories rewritten by Sprite, a rogue Eternal. The only one who remembers their past is Ikaris, and under his guidance their powers slowly begin to manifest, and their memories return, just in time to battle an army of Deviants and try to prevent the awaking of a sleeping Celestial, whose rise from slumber may destroy the planet.
Rating: 8 on 10