Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic have done the unthinkable - turned me into an Eternals fan with their stellar work on Eternals #2. Treat yourself to this issue not as a collector, but as a comic fan.
While on the surface, Eternals #2 seems like a standard slugfest between two heavy weights, the heart of the story is an allegory of what it means to be both the worshipped and the worshipper.
To be honest, I never was interested in the Eternals. For the most part, I viewed them as just another of Jack Kirby’s standard, intergalactic-god tales that he would reproduce in DC’s New Gods saga. When The Eternals movie announcement came, I researched their history out of obligation rather than excitement.
After reading Gillen and Esad’s first two issues of their Eternals run, I can call myself a fan.
THE STORY SO FAR
At the tail end of Eternals #1, Olympia has been invaded by none other than a rampaging Thanos. The newly resurrected Ikaris finds himself face-to-face with the Mad Titan as the last line of defense against Olympia’s destruction.
They engage in a slugfest that reasserts the Ikaris-as-an-arrow metaphor for his determination and single mindedness, as well as his role as the Eternals' enforcer, more or less.
For all intents and purposes, the Ikaris-Thanos brawl is a device to showcase Ikaris’ power. What it accentuates is that if Ikaris is strong enough to fight Thanos mano-a-mano, he can match up with practically anyone.
Generally speaking, their fisticuffs are nothing different than most comics. For what it is, the fight is action-filled and a fun sequence. Esad’s artwork, as always, is stunning and captures each blow with the lens of a ringside photographer for a heavyweight boxing match.
THE OLD MAN AND THE GOD
Sandwiched between the continuity stories is the intriguing tale of a faithful servant and his absent god, which rings of a Neil Gaiman Sandman issue.
As Ikaris and the great machine are monitoring the timeline, Ikaris sees a young boy witness the emergence of a sea monster. When Ikaris arrives, there is no monster, but he unwittingly gains a follower. In a cleverly written exchange between the two, Ikaris neither affirms nor denies his godly status. Ikaris then disappears from the boy’s life, but not before tasking him with lighting a beacon once the monster appears.
The boy grows into a man, and keeps a vigilant watch at the beach as per his god’s instructions. Day after day, the man stands guard, but no monster appears. For the remainder of his life, he remains studious without a glimpse of either Ikaris or the monster. Finally, Ikaris’ faithful servant dies on the beach, having given his life to a god he only beheld once.
THE GRADE: B+
In the grand scheme of comic collecting, Eternals #2 is not an issue I foresee as a speculation darling, but it does not have to be. This issue is worth your time as a comic book fan.
Overall, what Gillen and Esad are crafting is a jumping-on point for new Eternals readers as we approach the premiere of The Eternals movie. In that, they are so far successful. The plot is easy enough to follow even for those of us who are relatively new to Eternals lore. Aside from the wonderfully tragic story of the devoted follower, the major selling point for the issue is Esad’s beautiful artwork.
If you are looking for a time to pick up an Eternals series, I recommend starting here, and I will be excited to see where Gillen and Esad go from here.