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October 23, 2012

Touring the Cosmos: Eternals: To Slay A God

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Written by: mike
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In 2006, Neil Gaiman reintroduced the Eternals into the Marvel Universe. They had never really left, but were relatively untouched and unused for a few years. The launch quickly spurred on another short series, instigating a new look and directive for the Kirby-created Eternals. Touring the Cosmos is going to take a look at the first TPB for volume 4, “To Slay A God.” If you are unfamiliar with the Eternals, a good place to start would be here.

Eternals: To Slay A God TPB

Writers: Charles and Daniel Knauf
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Letters: Todd Klein

The Eternals’ origins are similar to that of DC’s New Gods. The infamous Jack Kirby brought his ideas for the New Gods to Marvel, after DC cancelled the series. Kirby used the Eternals to finish telling some stories he had wanted to tell, but alas The Eternals series was also cancelled before some plot threads were finished. The Eternals are a race of immortal humans, created by the cosmically powered Celestials. The Celestials had used Earth’s first beings to create the Eternals, as well as the Deviants. In “To Slay A God,” you find out the reason for the creation of both species. After Kirby’s run, the Eternals were used sporadically, managing a few more short-lived series and some appearances in other Marvel titles. Neil Gaiman’s re-imagining of the Eternals in 2006 was a fantastic way to bring them back into the spotlight. The memories of all of the Eternals had been erased, and many of them were living among the regular human populace, unaware of their extraordinary beginnings. With art by John Romita Jr., the story progressed to the point where the mystery was solved, and slowly the Eternals (and Deviants alike) were starting to become themselves once again.

“To Slay A God” picks up where Gaiman’s series left off. The Eternals are slowly awakening, but are in a race against the evil Druig, a Deviant who is implanting false feelings into some Eternals in order to have them work for him. While this is happening, the Eternals are also attempting to contact the Dreaming Celestial, a golden Celestial that has taken up residence on Earth. The Dreaming Celestial is believed to have some insight into many answers that the Eternals have questions for. The series is essentially two stories being told at once, both with repercussions for the other. The Celestials and some of their purpose and origin is explained, which was pretty entertaining. You get to see how truly powerful and influential they are. While the Celestials are being explored, the Eternals continue their struggle to rebuild their society, while thwarting the plans of Druig.

While the story is top-notch, the art throughout this TPB really takes the cake. From some really dynamic covers to awe-inspiring interiors, Eternals: To Slay A God is a real treat for the eyes. There isn’t a ton of action throughout this book, but when there is Acuna really nails the sequence. There is, however, a ton of dialog and dramatic character moments. Acuna really captures all of these moments with his facial expressions and body language. From Gilgamesh staring down pretty much anyone, to Sersi being surprised, to Thena being angry. A lot. Acuna really characterizes the Eternals well, and every time one of them are on a panel, they really shine with detail and emotion. Acuna also really nails the space scenes with the Celestials, and has a knack for showing distant planets and galaxy shots. While his Earth backgrounds aren’t the most detailed, the outlines of trees or a cityscape allow for a focus on the excellently done characters. It is hard to find many faults in Acuna’s work on this one. He really brings his talent to the table for “To Slay A God.”

The Knauf family keeps up with Acuna’s art on this one just as well. Father Daniel and son Charles crafted a really emotional tale with “To Slay A God.” They showcase enough of the Eternals and Deviants to keep things interesting, while not introducing too many to dilute the story. There are a ton of Eternals and Deviants to play around with, and the Knaufs definitely chose the right ones. Choosing to use a select few for this story really allows for the personalities of the characters to shine. Zuras’s old age, Ikaris’s impatience, Druig’s scheming, and Sersi’s concern are just a few of the elements at play here. While the Eternals war with the Deviants, the Knaufs also include an interesting look at the Celestials, which has rarely been done in the past. They handle both plots with ease, making for a natural read. Both plots mesh well with each other to create a truly entertaining tale. While the origin and story of the Eternals is already known, the Knaufs even managed to squeeze in another take on how they are regarded on Earth, creating a grounded story that also had “higher power” tones.

It would be hard to find many flaws in this story as a whole. The art by Acuna is top-notch, and the story by the Knaufs was entertaining and deep. Acuna really nailed the look of the Eternals and the Celestials, as well as creating some nice galaxy wide scenic panels. The Knaufs were able to allow the reader to immerse themselves into the Eternals family, by having a lot of high tension character moments, as well as elaborating on the origin and mystique of the Eternals as a whole. If you’re a fan of the Eternals, this is a MUST. If you want to read about beings with a deep history, family ties, and super powers, then this is also a MUST. Hopefully Marvel doesn’t ignore the Eternals for another 10 years.

Suggested Reading:

  • The Eternals (collects Eternals (vol. 1) #1-19 and Eternals Annual #1, 1976–1978)
    • Volume 1 (collects Eternals (vol. 1) #1-11)
    • Volume 2 (collects Eternals (vol. 1) #12-19 and Eternals Annual #1)
  • Thor: The Eternals Saga:
    • Volume 1 (collects Thor Annual #7 and Thor #283-291)
    • Volume 2 (collects Thor #292-301)
  • Eternals (collects Eternals (vol. 3) #1-7, 2006 (Gaiman and Romita))
  • Eternals:
    • Volume 1: To Slay A God (collects Eternals (vol. 4) #1-6, (Knauf and Acuna))
    • Volume 2: Manifest Destiny (collects Eternals (vol. 4) #7-9 and Eternals Annual)

Mike Parente


One Comment

  1. Billy

    LOVE ME SOME ETERNALS!!! C & D Knauf did a great job with them, and Acuna’s artwork is fantastic!

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