The Eternals by Neil Gaiman & John Romita Jr. | Review


Published on Apr 11, 2018


Anyone who knows Jack Kirby, King of comics in the stars and stripes, knows that in the course of his long and glorious career has often been influenced by the concept of the divinity. Many of his heroes extraordinary, in fact, have a mythical aura that makes them more like gods than simple magistrates in tights. Just think of Thor with his pantheon of warriors, heralds, which were more the result of his creativity and that, though fundamental, Smiling, Stan Lee; or, the New Gods are designed to DC.

Even the Eternals are part of the discourse. Kirby created them towards the end of the seventies, when he returned to work at Marvel. Eternals had a short life, but the characters left a mark, and later appeared in various books of the House of Ideas, and in some miniseries. The idea of the Eternals is based on the Celestials, powerful beings and divine at the dawn of time, had arrived on earth and had created three races: the humans, the Eternals and the monstrous Deviants.

The Eternal, in particular, struggle against the Deviant, they act as superheroes and are, in fact, more similar to semi-divine beings who (of the rest, each component of the group follows, beginning by the name, to the heroes of the mythologies). Also, try to defend earth from the Celestials, who, on a recurrent basis, the return on the planets they visited to judge and, in the case of a negative evaluation, destroy them.
In 2006, Marvel decided to take them back with this mini-series proposal by Panini in volume. The project was entrusted to another legend of comics, the british Neil Gaiman, the celebrated writer of the masterpiece the Sandman. And never choice was more apt. First of all, Neil loved the style and the imagination of Kirby, and he, basically, was intrigued by the gods, as is evident to those who have read Sandman or novels like, for example, American Gods. In the climate of innovation set by Joe Quesada, however, Neil is moving in a personal way.

It must be clarified that does not alter at all the characters; he respects, indeed, the original features, but uses them to set up a typical story-line to Gaiman, an adult and mature in tone, and not without moments of disturbing. Everything takes place as usual in the Marvel Universe populated by superheroes like Iron Man, the Wasp and the Hornet (which appear briefly in the story); and there are also the Eternal. At least in principle, however, are very far from the classic version.

Ikaris, Sersi, Mekkari and the other characters, in fact, live lives normal and are not aware of having extraordinary powers. Makkari, for example, does the doctor in the hospital and is approached by Ikaris, the only one who, apparently, has recovered a gleam of memory, and who makes the speech at the beginning do not understand. As the plot progresses, it is clear that someone has changed the lives of the endless, for reasons that Gaiman, skillfully playing with the registers of the thriller, reveals to us slowly.

A role of first floor played by the young and pestilent Sprite, the other Eternal, which is now an acclaimed tv star, the treacherous Druig, who is now the prime minister of a state in Eastern Europe and is at the heart of shadowy machinations, and, above all, the terrifying Celestial Dormant, well-known to all fans of the classic series of the Eternal. When he wakes up, if it ever will, could result in a catastrophe and only Thena, Sersi, IKaris and the others can hope to stop him. But everything is useless if you do not riavranno the old memories.

Gaiman writes a masterpiece, with poetic lyrics and intense, especially in the first episodes make you think of the Sandman. It is also a poignant declaration of love in the relation of the imaginary Kirby, mixing supereroismo and fantasy. In his hands, the Eternal, and have a great thickness, they differ by the ingenuity of a time, are more gloomy and disenchanted. Thena is a woman lived who has discovered the joys of maternity; Makkari is cynical and pragmatic; Sersi is always sexy but psychologically vulnerable; Zuras became a tramp, confused.

The best work Gaiman does with Sprite, a boy condemned to never to grow up. His characterization is flawless and the reader cannot but feel compassion for him; at the same time, however, arouses anxiety (the final dialogue with Zuras is creepy). The pencils, there is the great John Romita Jr., son of the great ‘Jazzy’ John, who plays one of his best works. The stroke is twisted, aggressive and dynamic that its fans appreciate, an amalgam effective influences milleriane and classic Marvel style.

The first plans of setting the film have the merit of highlighting the emotions that animate the protagonists but John is also effective when depicting the enormous Celestial. In this case, it is linked to gigantism of Kirby, in a personal way. The result is of remarkable quality and a miniseries as the Eternals is without a shadow of a doubt superior to the last trials, which John has played recently at DC with Superman and All-Star Batman.

In short, if you love Kirby, you will like ancestral myths, adore fantasy fiction and superhero comics, appreciate the Vertigo of the beginning (echoed in this mini-series) and the venerated Neil Gaiman, this is the volume for you. Not to be missed.


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