Comic Book 101: Eternals in Marvel Comics Explained

    Welcome back to class as we examine the basic need-to-know information for the barrage of comic book films coming our way in the next few years from the MCU, DC, and more. Next up for us: Eternals.& Directed by Academy Award winning director Chlo&é Zhao, &Eternals& follows a group of super heroes created by Jack Kirby. The team of super powered beings made their first appearance in July of 1976 with a comic of the same name, &The Eternals.& Much like what we are briefly told about them in the trailers we have seen for the movies, their footprints are all over the comics, but are not a household name, the later was also true with Marvel’s gamble in bringing &The Guardians of the Galaxy& to life. This Friday, that will all change.

    Over the years, there have been several Eternal teams correlating with different periods of the groups existence, but to understand that, we must start at the beginning. The Eternals were created by a group of beings we have already partially seen in the MCU thanks to &&the aforementioned Guardians of the Galaxy&. The Celestials created this particular race of beings to protect Earth from the evil race of monstrous beings called The Deviants. &The Celestials also aren’t the only beings from this story we have been introduced too. Marvel’s disaster of &Inhumans& are connected to the Eternals as well, being created by the Kree during experiments performed on some Eternals fleeing Earth for Saturn’s moon Titan. Perhaps the biggest connection to the team and the rest of the movies as we currently see them is none other than Thanos, who himself is a Third Generation Eternal.

    Ancient humans associated the god-like creatures as just that: gods. The group took up residence in Olympia and have several names associated with Greek and Roman mythology. Those include: Ikaris, Chronos, and stories such as Gilgamesh. Others, such as Zuras were adopted into other entities such as Zeus. The names given them span early civilizations over several thousand years, so the associations with these beings make sense. First Generation Eternals were born more than 20,000 years ago after the fall of Titanos, (Titan).

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    Those beings were not as powerful as Second Generation Eternals and even beyond. Kronos (Chronos) was conducting an experiment with energy that went either horribly wrong, or horribly right depending on your point of view. He was killed in the resulting explosion, but the remaining Eternals were given great powers indeed such as superhuman strength and speed, invulnerability, immortality, concussive blasts, accelerated healing and many more. The Generations expand to Third, Fourth, and Fifth Generations.

    From the context we have been given from trailers and what information that has been released, the movie will likely be based off of the Modern Age arc for the group. If this is correct, the story should be a good one, despite some of the reviews coming out early regarding the film. We know ‘the snap’ will set into play a chain of events which will summon The Celestials to Earth}. In the arc, they are returning to Earth to lay judgment on humanity. The cosmic beings arrive on Earth to find Eternal and Deviant alike locked in combat which causes the Eternals to do the unthinkable: reveal themselves to humanity. The group even joined The Avengers in defeating a Deviant called Priestlord Ghaur after he absorbed the full might of a Celestial. Together, they were able to subdue the threat and Gilgamesh and Sersi briefly joined the Avengers despite an oath to not interfere with mankind affairs unless it can be helped, or unless it involved Deviants.

    Marvel would not have introduced the team if they didn’t intend to use them again later as they continue Phase 4, and into Phases 5 and 6 of the MCU. They also plan on introducing Dane Whitman who will be played by Kit Harrington. Whitman is The Black Knight an incredibly important character in the comics and looks to be just as important in the MCU. As such, there will be an upcoming Comic Book 101 regarding him after the release of the film. Much like I predicted in a previous article in this series on Shang-Chi, Wong was used to bridge the gap between he and the remaining Avengers, namely Bruce Banner and Captain Marvel. In that same vein, I expect the bridge here to be Gilgamesh. Gilgamesh, a Second Generation Eternal whose sheer might and strength rivals that of Thanos, is often referred to as ‘The Forgotten One”. This is due to the fact he has run off on his own adventures, interfering with humanity for the better, but nonetheless breaking the code of Eternals in the process, the action which has seen him exciled from the group.

    There are plenty of places for Marvel to go with this part of the franchise, so it will be interesting to see if they do indeed follow the Modern Age arc. The heroes have a storied past that spans over 400 issues and as such, the true meaning of Comic Book 101 is being expressed here: just enough to make you dangerous in a discussion. Where they go with it, who they go there with, and how they bridge the gap will all be answered November 5th when &Eternals& hits theater. Stay tuned in the next couple weeks for more installments of this series of articles as we explore the MCU in its growth.

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