Eternals #9 Review: Messed Up

Following similar thematic directions as the very enjoyable film, Eternals #9 faces people who struggle against the role they've been given as everything around them tries to fit them back into place. There are some great story beats and quotable moments that are true treasures, but some elements seem a smidge problematic.

Eternals #9 Review: Messed Up
Eternals #9 Cover. Credit: Marvel Comics

The Eternals that most of us know are holed up in Lemuria, the city of the Deviants, trying to learn how to change. They've discovered the secret to their immortality — every time one of them dies, a human then dies, and the Eternal in question is reborn with that cost paid. This, apparently, is not something they like, so like the last issue, they turned to their ancient enemies, the "changing people," for help. Then, of course, the Eternals' new leader Thanos (electoral college-style stuff, don't ask) wants one of them (Phastos) and is willing to murder everybody in Lemuria to get him (because he'll just be reborn if he dies).

If you immediately see the challenge of the Celestial-empowered Eternals turning to an earlier, darker-hued population for assistance only to then cause massive slaughter and suffering for those people, you're right; that's messed up. To spend thousands of years killing Deviants (even the name is mean) for doing nothing more than following their inalterable biological imperative (they mutate into monsters, sort of) only to sleep on their couch and get them caught in your fight is the height of entitlement and rudeness … and that may be the point. Sure, Ikaris blows up some of the Oceanic Watch (another clan of Eternals). Still, it doesn't stop many Deviant lives from being destroyed in a conflict they have zero interest in examining. That's all pretty screwy.

Then there's Thanos himself, in his own way as relentless as Ikaris in pursuing his goals. However, despite a flair for dialogue that would make Macbeth appreciative — props to writer Kieron Gillen there — the Mad Titan gets by on reputation more than deeds, and that's likely fair tactically, but less so from a reading standpoint.

The artwork by Esad Ribic, Guiu Vilanova, Matthew Wilson, and Clayton Cowles maintains the "Renaissance paintings of superhero conflicts" level of quality you've come to know in this series (one close-up shot of Thanos seemed a little unfinished). Still, the story less moves like the arrow it uses to describe Ikaris and more like an overloaded cargo truck veering from lane to lane. There's good stuff here, but this chunk of it doesn't give you enough to make the ride enjoyable enough to buy. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.

Eternals #9
By Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic, Guiu Vilanova
It is Eternal indoctrination to eliminate excess deviation. But can our small group of Eternals overcome such programming when living in a city of Deviants? We're about to find out as, for the first time ever, Eternals fight for Deviantkind.

Eternals #9

Eternals #9 Review: Messed Up
Review by Hannibal Tabu

7/10
Slaughter comes to Lemuria as the internecine struggles between Eternals spills the blood of people who have no dog in the fight.
Credits

Editors
Akira Yoshida, Darren Shan, Kat Gregorowicz

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About Hannibal Tabu

Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, his mix show can be found on Los Angeles' KQBH-LP 101.5 FM or lpfm.la in your browser Sunday nights at 11PM PST, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
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