REVIEW: ‘Eternals: Thanos Rises,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Eternals Thanos Rises #1 - But Why Tho

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 is published by Marvel Comics. The writer is Kieron Gillen and the art is by Dustin Weaver. The colourist is Matthew Wilson and the letterer is Clayton Cowles

The Eternals are, well, eternal. Ancient beings created by the Celestials, they exist in an endless cycle of death and rebirth. But they cannot breed. And yet somehow Thanos, the Mad Titan was created. This issue tells the story of the conflict between the Eternals that led to them wanting to be able to reproduce. Those Eternals want family, but this may not lead to paradise.

This functions as a prequel to Eternals and is highly connected to the Eternals series, also written by Gillen, therefore, an understanding of the Eternals is recommended. Their origin is explained within these pages, but a newcomer’s mind may be blown if this is their first foray into this corner of the Marvel Universe.

This is a high-concept comic from the start. Gillen is unafraid to tap into every ounce of Eternals history while adapting and adding his own. This issue takes place 200,000 years ago and embraces the almost incomprehensible scale of the characters. The story is told with a slow pace that never increases in action. Whilst there is a battle in the opening, this isn’t a no-holds-barred cosmic onslaught. It’s methodical and thoughtful. The themes are very similar to those that Gillen addresses in the main series. The Eternals don’t even change, and some of them crave a real family. This quest for change leads to something that has ruined billions of lives.

There is a lot of reading within Eternals: Thanos Rises #1. Not just dialogue, of which there is a lot. But there are also snippets of information held within asides—separate pages from the story. These include timelines of Eternals history and the respective arguments towards the highly contentious issue of them breeding, among other factors. It is extensive, but fantastic to absorb. What is evident is that the reader will have to take time with the comic.

The characters are incredibly written. They go from being cold and godlike. But their plight for change actually weakens them, mankind them vulnerable and slightly relatable. The story is tragic by its conclusion, horrifying as consequences upon consequences are felt. Gillen’s dialogue alternates from being dark and bleak, to emotionless and explanatory, to his signature dry wit.

The art is magnificent. The opening battle is an unmissable homage to Jack Kirby, the master who created the Eternals. The iconic “krackles” of energy are specific to that artist. From there, Weaver provides his own flourishes and makes the art his own. While the design of the technology and characters may look reminiscent of classic cosmic Marvel stories, it still feels unique. Weaver’s line weights fluctuate, depicting either blocky shadows or intricate details of machinery the size of buildings. There is also chaos in this comic and the ridiculous scale is never shied away from by any of the creators.

The colours are superb. The tones used by Wilson are passionate and vibrant, again seeming to harken back towards a classic era. What is notable is that the colours may clash with each other at times. The stark white may seem out of place, and the blending of colours sometimes is abrasive. But that seems to create an unnerving, alien quality to the figures, which works in the context of the genre. Everything bout this comic is abstract and the colours being chaotic provides it with energy and life.

The lettering is really good. There is a huge amount of text and an enormous quantity of events happening behind it, but Cowles ensures that the word balloons and caption boxes are easy to read and follow.

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 is a celebration. This comic lovingly pays tribute to the brilliance of creators such as Jim Starlin and Jack Kirby with the modern mastery of Gillen and Weaver. It has painstaking details in its text and its art, using history to tell a new story. It’s sad and even brutal, but that is inevitable considering what is created. It is also nice to get more of Gillen’s Eternals, and this hopefully will not be the last. 

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 is available where comics are sold

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1
4.5

TL;DR

Eternals: Thanos Rises #1 is a celebration. This comic lovingly pays tribute to the brilliance of creators such as Jim Starlin and Jack Kirby with the modern mastery of Gillen and Weaver. It has painstaking details in its text and its art, using history to tell a new story. It’s sad and even brutal, but that is inevitable considering what is created. It is also nice to get more of Gillen’s Eternals, and this hopefully will not be the last.