I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got 1 new comic plus a hard cover collection:

  • The Authority Prime – 5
  • The Young Avengers (HC)
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read this week.

  • “The Eternals” Issues 1-19 and Annual 1 by Jack Kirby
  • Marvel printed up an oversized hardcover edition of all of Jack Kirby’s Eternals in the middle of 2006. That was before I went on my hardcover kick and I was always trying to decide whether to get it or not. Then it went out of print and instead of being fifty dollars it shot up to two hundred dollars. My missing out on it kind of started my hard cover buying habit. Well, that and some cash in pocket.

    I picked up these, the original issues, on EBay for about twenty dollars (shipping included) so they were a bargain. I used to have some of these issues as a kid but I haven’t read them since my childhood and have never read them all in a row. I get more and more impressed with Jack Kirby’s 1970’s work as time goes by.

    “The Eternals” is Jack Kirby’s take on Erich von Daniken’s “Chariots of the Gods” that was popular in the 1970’s. “Chariots” said that all of mankind’s ancient myths and religions came from one source deep in the past and attempted to prove that space aliens were that source.

    Jack Kirby’s “The Eternals” says those same things but Kirby fills out the details in his own imaginative way. The space aliens are called the Celestials and millions of years ago visited Earth and helped evolution along by creating three races: Humans, Deviants, and Eternals. Humans are us, Deviants have unstable genes and are where all of our monster stories come from, and Eternals and immortals with super powers who spawned the tales of ancient gods and heros. That was the Celestial’s first visit.

    The second time they came to Earth the Deviants tried to kill them. So the Celestials smashed the Deviants. We know who’s boss. On the third Celestial visit humans were in charge of the planet and the Celestials gave the Incas some guidance and then split. Now it’s time for the Celestials’ fourth visit and the beginning of the fifty year judgement. Yeah, they are going to decide whether Earth lives or dies. That is the beginning of the story.

    Of all of Kirby’s 1970’s work that I’ve read lately “The Eternals” reads most like comics being published today. The story isn’t quite “decompressed” but moves slowly because it’s so grand in scope. I doesn’t take place in the regular Marvel Universe but has since been shoe horned in. We get to know lots of Eternals and Deviants as they all try to figure out to do about the fifty year judgement.

    The Deviants want to kick the Celestials’ asses but since the Celestials are 2000 foot tall space gods it’s kind of tough. They scheme and plan and even attempt a couple of attacks.

    The Eternals try to stop the attacks because even though they don’t want the Celestials to destroy the Earth. The Eternals think that the Deviants will provoke the Celestials into destroying the Earth sooner. The Eternals don’t quite know what to do besides that.

    The humans are just getting into the game because they didn’t know that the other three groups even existed until the Celestials showed up. There are no super heroes because this is not the regular Marvel U.

    The first twelve or so issues deal with this slow moving meta story but there is a lot of action going on so I can’t call the issues themselves slow. Then the series shifts focus a little as Kirby concentrates on a few characters an issue. The meta story progresses but at a slower rate. The first year of stories were so filled with new ideas, characters, and situations that things almost had to slow down. But there was still plenty of Kirby action so the comics were never really slow. Strange concept.

    All in all I dug this series. When Kirby does a riff on something he makes it his own. A lot of the Eternals are familiar as old Greek and Roman gods but not quite. The Deviants are all strange monsters but are not just monsters. They have a society of their own and are not one dimensional evil beings. The Celestials are probably the most inscrutable characters ever. They are so far above us that we are almost like insects to them. They wear weird armor and helmets so we never even see their faces.

    So check out “The Eternals” for some 1970’s jack Kirby magic. They don’t make them like this anymore.