Eternals Forever #1 Review

by Charles Martin on October 13, 2021

Eternals Forever #1 Review
Writer: Ralph Macchio
Artist: Ramón F. Bachs
Colourist: Rachelle Rosenberg
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Well, we've got another MCU movie coming down the pipeline, so that means it's time for a soft-continuity intro comic from our friend Ralph Macchio.

For a lot of readers, that's all you need to know: Macchio + MCU synergy - continuity = This has exactly the quality level you'd expect/dread.

I need to justify my critic gig by going into at least a little more detail, though. 

What we've got here is a very basic story where Lord Ghaur, boss of the Deviants, captures Ikaris, the most protagonist-y of the Eternals, and uses him in a scheme to Trojan Horse his way into Olympia, the Eternals' home.

Along the way, we get to meet a ton of the more prominent Eternals. We also cover a lot of backstories, both for the race as a whole and for some individual members. This is integrated into the story at hand with debatable success.

For me, the strongest point here is undoubtedly the artwork of Ramón F. Bachs. While providing a commendable amount of visual detail and blocking out smooth-reading panels, he also draws heavily on Jack Kirby's work on the original Eternals series from 1976. It gives this comic a distinctive flavour and recaptures a healthy dose of the "good weird" from Kirby's series.

Rachelle Rosenberg helps out by providing a wide-ranging colour palette. Of particular note are the flashback panels appearing midway through the book, where she flattens the colours down to more closely resemble Bronze Age work. I believe Mr. Bachs makes some stylistic adjustments as well, but it's the colours that really sell the effect.

On the verbal side of things, I doubt it'll come as a surprise to learn that the script is extremely wordy. Mr. Macchio's consistently retro writing style is a well-known quantity.

On the plus side, I will give him credit for consciously emulating the mythological tone Jack Kirby used. Sometimes it's clumsy, but it's Kirby clumsiness, and I found that charming. But sometimes the dialogue is just clumsy, full stop, particularly in the big battle scene where characters cram way too many syllables into the action panels.

Also, in this issue's copious Eternals backstory exposition, Mr. Macchio manages to reproduce some of King Kirby's "bad weird," specifically the uncomfortable notion that good and evil are genetically hard-wired into the Eternals and Deviants. The author does pull the same trick that prior creators have used to soften the quasi-eugenic blow of Kirby's ideas: Some renegade Deviants are front and center in Olympia, enjoying the full respect of the Eternals. Yet there's a sour taste even to that, as there are patronizing/discriminatory "here's one of the good ones" vibes to this solution.

Eternals Forever is a basic introduction to this particular corner of Marvel, shamelessly laid out in an MCU-synergizing, newbie-friendly way. The stilted writing and simplistic story put a hard cap on the overall quality of the book, but it has its charms. It does summon up a bit of the mythic weirdness with which Jack Kirby launched the Eternals, particularly in its visuals. This won't be a must-read for everyone, but it may tickle some fancies among the more retro-oriented audience.

Our Score:


A Look Inside


Charles Martin's picture
It's always fun when the cover showcases a bunch of characters that don't appear in the book (he said sarcastically).