Directed by Carl Upsdell
Created by Neil Gaiman (writer) and John Romita Jr. (artist)
Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. team up to bring back an old work of famed comic creator Jack Kirby about superhuman gods that have been protecting the world for millions of years. Do the Eternals still have a place in the modern world?
An ancient group of immortal super humans, the Eternals were created by the god-like giants called Celestials before the dawn of man to protect the Earth and its creatures before the Celestials’ return. But then something happened and they disappeared. Now a med student, a party planner, a scientist, and crazy man who thinks he one of these Eternals must discover their true past and stop their old enemies the Deviants and a rogue Celestial cleansing the Earth of all mankind.
Neil Gaiman, known for Sandman and Marvel’s 1602, teams up with Marvel mainstay artist John Romita Jr. to reinvigorate a classic work of the famous Jack “The King” Kirby into a modern story. The Eternals is set against the backdrop of the super human registration act that sparks the Marvel event Civil War, and Gaiman uses full advantage of that to showcase how powerful and beyond the less familiar Eternals are compared to the more familiar Marvel heroes like Iron Man and Hank Pym. It’s delightful how the Eternals treat the controversy of registration picking sides as a childish squabble beneath them.
With that said, it is still difficult to imagine the Eternals as a miraculous and incredible thing in a world saturated with such things already. Heck, Iron Man hangs out with actual gods on a regular basis, a point he even makes in the story. Then considering how the Eternals and Deviants, both entire civilizations, have existed for millions of years with no historical evidence is also a pretty big request for suspension of disbelief when already asking for so much as it is.
The characters are a lot of fun, these reincarnated super beings that have in very different ways sought out lives that underscore their former talents and abilities. Then we get to watch them cope with their rediscovery, as they meld their old and new lives together.
The concepts are intriguing between this almost magical science that fuels the Eternals and their eons old rivalry with the deformed mutations that are the Deviants. Personally I think it would have worked better apart from the regular Marvel universe, which makes everything oddly feel less fantastical as it should, but it still stands well enough on its own as a good sci-fi story.
The Video and Audio
John Romita Jr.’s art holds up pretty well in video form. Romita is great at drawing very heroic characters that aren’t overly buff or in unrealistic shape. His combat scenes are also pretty decent. Unfortunately the actual animation is still awkward and cheap looking, but it’s better than a lot of the motion comics I’ve seen. The audio is clear enough too
The Packaging and Bonus Features
This one disc set comes in a flimsy cardboard case and includes one 20-minute behind-the-scenes bonus feature with artist John Romita Jr. No Gaiman, unfortunately. It’s still great to hear Romita talk with a bit of hero worship about having to adapt characters originally drawn by one of the greatest artists in the history of comic books.
I find myself returning often to the same complaint with all of these motion comics though: replaying the start and end credits after each portion every time, breaking up the middle of the story. When I want to play all, I don’t want to see the ending credits until the actual end of the story, not every 10 minutes or so for five or six times before the end. I shouldn’t have to chapter skip every 10 minutes. Shout Factory, please stop this already.
Overall (Not an Average)
It’s hard not to enjoy something with such good creative talent behind it. Gaiman and Romita pulling straight from King’s own work definitely ensure a certain level of quality. It’s not the best outing from either party, but it’s still an enjoyable ride.