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ETERNITY #1

by Thegreatmagnet on October 25, 2017

Writer: Matt Kindt
Penciller: Trevor Hairsine
Inker: Ryan Winn
Colorist: David Baron
Publisher: Valiant Comics
 
Warning: Spoilers ahead…
 
When Divinity first hit the scene in 2015, it made quite a splash with its trippy, non-linear storytelling and healthy dose of mystery (not to mention phenomenal, otherworldly art). Abram is a character with near limitless storytelling potential, able to manipulate the fabric of reality, and largely driven by an inscrutable desire to avoid direct involvement. Subsequent volumes in the series have really delivered on that foundation, perhaps driven by the introduction of two additional characters with the same power set but strikingly different inclinations. However at the back of everyone’s minds, there has been the question about the nature of the Unknown, the source of the trio’s Abram’s powers. This series offers a tantalizing glimpse into the totally shitballs crazy world of the Unknown, with huge blasts of world-building. Perhaps appropriately, for every fact they reveal about the world of the Unknown, several more questions emerge.
 
From time to time, I find it’s appropriate to discuss the art first in a review, and I think this is one of those instances. Valiant assembled the amazing artistic team of Hairsine/Winn/Baron from the very first issue of Divinity and their art has been consistently mindblowing from the outset. I would argue that they actually achieved the impressive task of raising the very high bar for art in both Divinity II and again in Divinity III. However, I’m not sure anything could quite prepare you for the quantum leap forward in this issue, now that they are fully unshackled from an Earth setting. This is a strange and spectacular alien environment, overflowing with crazy character designs. The lines are beautifully rendered and detailed, evoking the best of Moebius and Kirby. Not to be upstaged, David Baron’s masterful colors really get a chance to shine in the strange alien world of the Unknown. It’s a crazy world full of colorful characters, and yet it looks strangely believable. I dare anyone to look at this art and not get at least a bit interested.
 
This series seems to be focused on the death of a new character called the Observer and the ensuing fallout. All indications are that the Observer is a God-like figure (appropriately introduced on the “god platform”), who sees all and prevents reality from descending into chaos at the hands of unchecked agents of change, perhaps via a process called “editing”. The power structure of the Unknown are very unnerved by the death of the Observer, so they immediately recruit the help of an ominous sect named the Brothers of the Bomb to create a replacement. It’s understood that they intend to transform the son of Abram and Myshka (whom I call Divinity Jr.) into the new Observer via a ceremony at the god platform. I am curious about the relationship between the Observer and the Brothers, as well as the nature of the “Bomb” in their name. They make reference to scrapping a mission after learning about the Observer’s murder. Is it possible that the Brothers are essentially the henchmen of the Observer, and the “bombs” may be instruments of editing directed by the Observer? Beyond the Brothers, I am very tantalized by the other wacky characters that are introduced in this issue, and I hope that space is made in the mini-series to explain the many new characters that fill this first issue. There’s also the very important question of who killed the Observer, and why. Could it be one of the characters we’ve already met? They mention that the Observer foresaw his own death, but apparently he did not divulge any clues to his associates for some reason.
 
In the midst of all this sci-fi craziness, I was also struck by the interactions of David Camp, author of the Gospel of Divinity and the founder of the Eternity, a religious sect that worships Abram. When the Brothers arrive on Earth, David readily provided Divinity’s location to the mysterious group without even questioning their motives. Furthermore, after his subsequent encounter with Abram, David seems to be very hostile towards Abram, perhaps with traitorous intentions. I was originally struck by his disloyalty to his purported savior, but I think his motivations are ultimately believable. All indications are that David has carried the torch for Divinity for years, while Abram may never have never even thought twice about David. David has waited faithfully (perhaps desperately) for Divinity’s return, and perhaps he saw the appearance of the Brothers as an opportunity to re-engage with Abram. Furthermore, like all religious zealots, David has built an expectation that Divinity would deliver them to the Unknown, so he’s understandably angry when the Divinities leave him behind. It will be interesting to see exactly how much trouble he can cause if he seeks revenge in his disillusionment.
 
This first issue is frankly amazing. Although it’s a continuation of an epic story, there’s so much crazy new material that it new readers may only be at a slight disadvantage. I would go out on a limb and argue that there’s nothing like this being published right now by anyone. In addition to a strong narrative concept, it’s overflowing with wacky sci-fi worldbuilding at every seam. I just hope that they’re able to continue fleshing out the world and the characters in the next three issues as the story continues to unfold. I’m super excited about this book.
 

Our Score:

10/10

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