Monday, February 23, 2015

Eternals: The Herod Factor (one-shot 1991) [COMICS]

The Eternals, a race of super hero gods created by Jack Kirby, have always been part of the Marvel Universe that never did much for me.  Of them all, only Sersi became reasonably interesting to me because of the span of time she spent with the Avengers decades ago.  I can't even remember whether I've read Neil Gaiman's take, such is the lack of appeal the subject holds for me!

Eternals: The Herod Factor was a 1991 one-shot written by the always dependable Roy and Dann Thomas.  It begins with the Eternals on their remote mountain home of Olympia watching news footage of monsters attacking a high school prom in the U.S. The monsters seem Deviant (the Eternals ancient rivals) in appearance, and the Eternals debate what to do.  One of them, Phastos, arrives bearing an ancient scroll that holds a prophecy: that a pair of human twins, born of the union of Eternal and Deviant, will someday rule both groups.  Because the prom murders involved twins, and other attacks on twins have taken place near the same time, the Eternals suspect that the Deviants may be trying to stop the prophecy before it takes place--and although they're not sure whether the prophecy should take place either, the Eternals decide to investigate and stop the Deviants from murdering any other innocents.  It's an interesting premise for a story, and the Thomases always integrate past continuity well.

Whilst the leader of the Eternals, Ikaris, sneaks into the Deviant homeland for intel, another Eternal, Sersi, is approached in her New York apartment by Thena, the former Queen of the Eternals.  Thena admits that she is the mother of the prophesied twins, and relates a past liason with former Deviant warlord Kro.  The story is moving quite fast here, and it makes me wonder whether this was originally an outline for a longer series that got condensed into a one-shot.  Anyway, the Eternals track down the teenage twins, Donald and Deborah Ritter, and take them to Olympus for safety.

In a jumpy series of poorly-intercut scenes, monsters attack and kidnap the twins.  The Eternals chase the kidnappers to Lemuria, but they're captured and implanted with brain mines!  My notes are poorly written here, but suffice it to say, somehow or another it's revealed that the prophecy is fake!  (Joss Whedon would remember this whole theme when writing Angel years later!).  In fact, an ostensible ally of the Eternals, Dr. Damian, perpetrated the fraud for revenge out of anger of his daughter's death in a former conflict between the Eternals and Deviants.  Ultimately, a mind-controlled Eternal named Ajak kills himself and Dr. Damian to end the threat.

My summary is probably less comprehensible than the comic, which isn't half-bad.  It didn't make me *love* the Eternals, but I probably like them a little more than I did before.  Mission achieved, Mr. & Mrs. Thomas!

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