“Why is it that in worlds that have technology far beyond our own, no one seems able to build space shuttles that aren’t constantly in need of a superhuman to stop them from crashing?” That was my first thought upon reading the cliche opening to “Eternals” #7 where we get two pages of a space shuttle in a mayday situation and Ikaris rescuing everyone by doing his best Superman impression. So, seriously, what is it about these comic book universes that causes space shuttles to constantly malfunction and need rescuing? Because I’m totally stumped.
Anyway... So... Yeah, “Eternals” #7. Well, it’s a comic book published by Marvel, written by Charles and Daniel Knauf, drawn by new artist Eric Nguyen, and it’s 22 pages long. Honestly, debating the odd reasons why space shuttles are always crashing is more interesting than this comic. It isn’t a bad comic at all: there are no gaping plot holes or obvious flaws, it’s just kind of there. It’s mid-level mediocrity. Which is fine: not everything can be the best, it takes all kinds, and so on, but, come on, let’s not fool ourselves.
This issue kicks off the second story arc, “Manifest Destiny,” a crossover with the X-Men, which I’m not spoiling because it’s on the cover. After previous events, the Eternals have found themselves no longer immortal because their reincarnation machine (called "reactivation chambers") is broken and it’s very sad, because they’ve been immortal for a long, long time and now they can die. That sound you hear, of course, is the world’s smallest violin playing just for the Not-Quite-So-Eternals.
Add to that, Ikaris is pissed off at Druig, who is responsible for not just this problem but the death of Sersi, but, because everyone is afraid to die in an open conflict, there’s a non-violence treaty with Druig, preventing Ikaris from getting his revenge. Or does it? His solution to this dilemma isn’t nearly as shocking or clever as the characters like to act it is, but it does raise some good possibilities.
The Knaufs are trying and do throw out some great ideas like the dreaming Celestial confronting his own emotional growth, or Sersi in an afterlife that’s just a really fantastic bar, but the execution takes these potentially great ideas and drains them of all life and energy. They just lay there on the page, doing their best to just blend in.
New artist Eric Nguyen shows that he’s a worthy successor to Daniel Acuna with action sequences full of energy and pizzazz. The art actually gets better as the issue goes on with Nguyen adopting a more sketchy style that really allows the characters to come to life. Although, I must say that Andy Troy’s colors vary wildly with his work on some pages working perfectly with Nguyen’s art and, on others, draining all of the life out of the page. Perhaps purposefully, the worst pages are the Sersi ones where a flat palette is meant to work with the afterlife concept, but given that the setting is a lively bar, the choice seems inappropriate.
The action in this issue really works, mostly because of Eric Nguyen’s wonderful art and the ideas presented showing a lot of promise. But the Naufs’ execution falls flat, leading to boredom and a wandering mind. Because, really, what is up with those space shuttles? It’s really bugging me.
(Eric Nguyen’s art in “Eternals” #7 is pretty good, so check out CBR’s preview of his debut!)