Tuesday, September 18, 2007

1970's Flashback: The Eternals

I told you that I'd be getting back to a Marvel Comics title this week!

Created by Jack Kirby, after he rebounded to the House of Ideas following his stint at the Distinguished Competition, The Eternals made their first appearance in July 1976. They are an offshoot of humanity created by the god-like, alien Celestials, and wage war against their counterparts, the Deviants.

The Eternals saga was thematically similar to Kirby's DC Comics epic The New Gods, but like that series, the Eternals was also eventually cancelled without resolving many of its plots, most particularly the Celestials' impending judgment over humanity. Kirby was at least partially inspired by Erich von Däniken's book Chariots of the Gods, a debunked 1968 non-fiction best-seller, which postulated that ancient aliens gave advanced knowledge to early humans, and were then worshipped as gods.

The Eternals were not originally intended to be part of the normal Marvel canon. However, in issue #15, they battle against an Incredible Hulk-robot (imbued with cosmic powers), and at a subsequent press conference held by New York police questions of whether or not "Doctor Doom and Thor are fighting too" ended that slant, fueling other Marvel Universe story lines that incorporated the series various characters.

Due to the cosmic energy that suffuses an Eternal's body and the nigh-unbreakable mental hold they hold over their bodily processes, the Eternals of Earth are effectively immortal. They live for millennia, do not fatigue from physical exertion, are immune to disease and poison, and unaffected by environmental extremes of cold, heat. Most cannot be injured by conventional weaponry, and even if they are, an Eternal can rapidly regenerate any damage as long as they're able to retain their mental hold over their bodies. The only way to permanently kill an Eternal is to inflict enough damage to spread a significant portion of their body over a wide area.

All Eternals are also superhumanly strong. The limits of their strength can be increased as a result of years of focusing some of their energy towards that purpose.
This same cosmic energy can be channeled for a number of
superhuman abilities. All Eternals can:
Project damaging blasts and/or blinding flashes of energy from their eyes and hands.
Fly (and levitate others.)
Read minds.
Generate illusions.
Teleport vast distances, though doing so leaves most Eternals momentarily fatigued or dazed.
Transmute objects, altering both their shape and composition. This ability is very taxing to most Eternals.

Some Eternals choose to focus on a particular power in order to increased their effectiveness with it.Sersi, for example, has developed the power of transmutation farther than any other Eternal. Additionally, some Eternals choose to focus their cosmic energies into other, non-standard abilities. Ikaris, for example, channels cosmic energy to greatly enhance his senses, while the Interloper uses his to generate fear in others, and Makkari uses his cosmic energies for superspeed.

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