When Marvel Studios announced that it would bring the Eternals to the screen, not as secondary characters but in their own solo franchise, most people said, “Who?” But true Marvel Comics nerds said, “Why?”
The Eternals have never really worked. Not when their creator, Jack Kirby, put them on the page as a retread of the more iconic Fourth World, and not when preeminent modern myth-maker Neil Gaiman teamed up with no less an artist than John Romita Jr. to give them an update. And they didn’t really work in Marvel Studios’ Eternals, a movie more fascinating for its ambition than its achievements.
So expectations for Kieron Gillen’s Eternals were low, even though his gods-walk-among-us-as-pop-stars magnum opus The Wicked + The Divine gave him the perfect resume to actually make something of the characters. I was looking forward to it greatly, and was still surprised by how much I enjoyed it, much less that it would lead with natural flow into a line-wide Marvel Comics crossover event that I could honestly recommend to the casual reader.
And it’s not too late — not too late at all — for the Marvel Cinematic Universe to rip the whole concept out of the funnybook pages and slap it up on the screen.
What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)
I’m using the finale of AXE: Judgment Day as an excuse to say that the Eternals-to-Judgment Day saga has surpassed “if you like superhero comics, read this” and reached “if you want to read a good comic, read Gillen and artist Esad Ribić’s Eternals followed by AXE: Judgment Day.” The idea that the story has finished with a whole cadre of Eternals out there doing minor acts of superheroing Robin Hood-style around the globe and then leaving town as the Sad Hulk music plays — that’s good stuff. That’s good setup for anyone else who wants to use these characters, either for continuation or as guest stars in other books!
I’m normally the last person to advocate for a movie franchise to directly adapt anything that just happened in comics, but the MCU Eternals established just enough of the bones of Judgment Day that it wouldn’t take much more to veer the franchise in the right direction. And if the MCU was going to take a chance on the Eternals before they got good, it might as well do it when they actually are.
Speaking of “welp, you gotta fight god now” plot lines, every month I read another issue of Do a Powerbomb and every month I’m mad that I have to do other things with my time than telling people they need to read Do a Powerbomb.
Anthologies are always hit or miss — that’s the whole business plan of them, after all. One real banger of a story that balances out the rest, giving inexperienced creators or niche characters time to shine. Batman: Urban Legends #21, however, is the rare issue where I loved every included story. “The Wheelman of Gotham” (depicted above) takes first billing, with its crack writing and its Darwyn Cooke by way of Jiro Kuwata art. But then the issue continues with one of the only many recent attempts at a story about police brutality through the eyes of the Gotham police department that has actually worked for me, a neat enough mystery about Batman’s parents coming back to life, and part one of a story about Arkham Asylum’s new juvenile detention program for supervillain sidekicks, which I can’t wait to read more of.
Head empty, no thoughts, only the concept of lizard law.
Ever since writer Benjamin Percy took the helm of both Wolverine (what it says on the tin) and X-Force (Krakoa’s CIA program, wrapped up in all the bad things the comparison suggests), the two books have been on a slow-burn collision course. With this week’s issue, it looks like he might be ready to finally slam Beast and Wolverine into each other like two semitrucks going in opposite directions. It probably won’t have ripple effects much further than these two books, and probably nobody cares except people who’ve been reading both series this whole time. But I’ll still say it: It’s exciting.