Friday, March 02, 2007

Live Forever

Gods. We pray to them, read about them, and worship them. We bridge the gap of improbability willingly. Blindly, to a fault. But that is for another entry (one that I would never write because it hurts my head). This is about the gods that if possible we could will into being. Gods that save not our souls but people in trouble.

Gods that we also call superheroes.

Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. take on the daunting task of resurrecting one of Jack Kirby’s shiny gods, The Eternals. Issue #7 came out yesterday and just like any proper geek porn collector, I took all the issues out from the box and started reading from the first issue all over again.

As a serial, Eternals was underwhelming mostly due to the months in between issues. And if you pick-up quite a number of titles, the slow awakening of each Eternal was too leisurely paced to be memorable compared to, let’s say, the appearance of Thor on the last panel of Civil War #3.

The entire seven issues in one sitting make all the difference. A fourth world of difference. Cinematic, thanks mostly to Romita Jr’s strong, square-jawed, supersized art. And epic. Which is the tricky part. The story is quite familiar; American Gods meets Paul Jenkins’ The Sentinel. Gaiman takes his time to introduce the men and women who would be gods. Quirky has always been his game; Sersi as a flighty party planner is just precious and Makkari the struggling stubbled intern is, ahem, sexy. As the events turn from dangerous to fucked up, all their inner gods awaken and they do save the world just in the nick of time.

Is it as good as The Sandman thingy?

Hell yeah.

Maybe even better. Seasons of Mist is the only book that I’ve read more than once. And that serial killer convention arc. Blame it on age but I just can’t get back into the ominous saccharine of the Endless anymore. But I still dig the toys.

Eternals is Gaiman at his most relaxed. Technicolor compelling. This is Gaiman writing superheroes. Mythical, yeah, but still superheroes. And he delivers. The funnies. (Digging Yellow Jacket here.) The action. The larger than life. Gaiman is back to being “my man, Gaiman.”

Stripped of gothic men in drag, his storytelling is blade sharp, slicing and dicing the reader’s defenses with characters that pulsate with pain, anger, deliverance.

Eternals ends with quiet tragedy and a new quest, and quite ready to be picked up by a new writer. Just in time for J. Straczynski’s relaunch of Thor. And the return of the New Gods over at DC.

Gods do live forever.

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