Comic Review – “The Eternal #1”

The first issue in a new MAX series hits the stands today, but Uncanny X-Men scribe Chuck Austen. Here’s what I thought; if you picked it up too, pipe up and share your thoughts.

General Information

Title: Eternal #1
Author: Chuck Austen
Illustrator(s): Kev Walker (pencils), Simon Coleby (inks)
Original Publication Date: June 4, 2003
Cover Price: $2.99US, $4.75 Can


In a re-imagining of Jack Kirby’s Eternals (which I haven’t
read), Chuck Austen writes a MAX-line story about a group of slaves
sent to Earth to enslave the inhabitants for the benifit of the
Celestials. This chapters depicts their arrival.

High Point

I was hesitant about reading yet another series with aliens that look
incredibly like humans for no good reason. I was pleased to see that
they give a good reason for similarities, and treat the resemblance as
something highly unusual. It’s handled well enough that I can accept
it rather easily.

Low Point

This is a MAX line title, which means the writer and artist are free
to depict anatomically correct naked people having sex. While some of
this is certainly appropriate for this type of story, some of it was
downright gratuitous. Just because they can show this stuff
doesn’t mean they necessarily should.

The Scores

To rate the originality properly, a person should be familiar
with Jack Kirby’s run on his comic a few decades ago. I’m not
familiar with it, so my ratings will have some bias there. Apart from
that, we have a comic about aliens interacting with humans in many
ways we’ve seen before. The explanation of the remarkable
similarities between humans and Eternals is new, at least to me. The
setting is fairly new to the comic genre, even if it has been covered
in other media. I give it 3 out of 6.

The artwork by Kev Walker is nice. The harsh lines used on
the faces of the Eternals makes them look old and weather beaten,
which they are. It effectively tells the reader who will be good and
who evil from their first appearances, by making them look “good” or
“evil” through pure facial expressions, before they even begin to
act. I give it 5 out of 6.

The story is minimal. It’s a prologue to a six part story,
so this one isn’t complete. It does do a good job of giving us a good
view of the world these characters live in, without telling us
everything, and avoiding awkward exposition rather effectively. This
is where the gratuitous sex hurts the book, though. I can understand
the “sailors returning to port” mentality, but the orgy wasn’t
necessary. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is made effective by both the art and
the dialogue. Our hero seems to find ways to justify treating the new
slaves with as much respect as his people can muster, while the
villain is understood well enough to predict his future actions
without becoming bored by them. It’s very well done, particularly for
a first issue with no stock characters. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response this produced was good, for the most
part. Apart from boredom with the gratuitous sex and nudity, the
emotions elicited were exactly those the author seems to intend his
reader to feel. I give it 4 out of 6.

The flow was smooth and effective. It does some time
shifting, but not in a disturbing way. I give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, it’s a solid first issue. I wouldn’t suggest you
make a special trip to the comic shop for it, but if you’re there
anyway (and you’re 18 or older) it’s worth consideration. I give it 4
out of 6.

In total, The Eternal #1 receives 30 out of 42.

Additional Notes and Comments

This is the first issue in an ongoing series. I’ll keep reviewing the
issues individually, at least through the end of the first (six issue)
story arc.