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comicsincontext4.jpg

cic2007-09-17.jpgThis week I continue my examination of Neil Gaiman’s recent revival of Jack Kirby’s Eternals. But first, I want to mention briefly a subject that turns out to be related: the newly released The Last Fantastic Four Story, written by FF co-creator Stan Lee and drawn by John Romita, Jr., the illustrator of Gaiman’s Eternals. It’s like one of the old Superman “imaginary stories”: what might the FF’s final adventure be like? In this saga, the Adjudicator, a gigantic armored alien being with virtually unlimited godlike powers, descends to Earth to deliver judgment on humanity. Seems familiar, doesn’t it? It would not surprise me if Stan Lee had never read Jack Kirby’s Eternals, or, if he had, had forgotten it over in the ensuing thirty years. But surely someone at Marvel should have pointed out that the Adjudicator is uncomfortably similar to Jack Kirby’s Arishem the Judge.

Reading the Gaiman Eternals is more rewarding. When I left off last week, Ikaris had regained his full Eternal memories and powers by thrusting his hand into a waterfall in the Eternal city of Olympia. Having already experienced resurrection, Ikaris thus underwent another kind of Christian imagery: baptism.

Then Sprite, revealed as the principal villain of Gaiman’s Eternals, conforms to standard supervillain practice by “monologuing”: expounding on his grand scheme and motivations to the helpless Mark Curry, alias the Eternal Makkari.

Though he has lived for “the best part of a million years” (Gaiman Eternals issue 4 p. 15), Sprite, for unknown reasons, has never advanced beyond the physical age of eleven, whereas the other Eternals are all adults. He’s right on the verge of puberty, but, as long as he is an Eternal, would never reach it.

Sprite once appeared to the British playwright James Barrie, who based Peter Pan, the boy who would not grow up, on him, “back when the only thing I had left to enjoy was messing with the transients,” by which Sprite means we mere mortals. Although most people today are probably more familiar with the heroic depictions of Peter Pan in the Disney film and the Broadway musical, Barrie’s original Peter Pan is a more ambiguous figure.

Sprite is a trickster, and his creator, Jack Kirby, established in the original Eternals series that William Shakespeare put Sprite in one of his plays (Kirby Eternals hardcover, p. 173). Presumably Kirby meant that Sprite was the inspiration for Puck in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and those who know Gaiman’s Sandman story about that play know that Gaiman regards Puck as not some endearing, fun-loving sprite but as a potentially dangerous creature (see “Comics in Context” #65).

So, like Peter Pan, Sprite is a boy who will not grow up. There is a related figure in popular culture: the adult who refuses to admit to his or her true age, who refuses to move on from a time when he or she was younger. There’s Miss Havisham in Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, an elderly woman still wearing a young woman’s wedding gown, trying to make time stand still, and Norma Desmond in Billy Wilder’s Sunset Boulevard (1950), fantasizing about playing the teenage Salome. In a more comic mode, there are Jack Benny and Absolutely Fabulous’s Patsy Stone both insisting with increasing absurdity that they are only thirty-nine: Patsy and her friend Eddie are middle-aged women who behave as if the 1960s and their youth never ended.

A recurring variation on this figure is the adult who seems stuck in childhood. I wonder if this image originated with performers like Mary Pickford, the first great star of American silent film (and said to be a possible influence on Little Orphan Annie), who played prepubescent girls well into her thirties; apparently her public resisted her attempts to play characters her own age. Then there’s “Baby June” (later known as the actress June Havoc) who was forced to play little girls long into her adolescence, as dramatized in the classic musical Gypsy. In the 1960 book and 1962 film Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? a fictional former child star by that name irrationally plans to revive her act.

Then there’s another variation that cartoon art makes possible: the adult with the body of a child, like Baby Herman in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), who looks like an infant but off-camera has a gravely adult voice and smokes cigars. Again, Baby Herman is a show business performer. Baby Herman is a comedic figure, but an adult mind in a child’s body represents a violation of the normal natural order that can seem sinister. One of the villains in Batman: The Animated Series is Baby Doll, a former television child star who suffers from a rare disease that forces her to remain a small child physically, even though she is psychologically an adult. Then there’s Family Guy’s Stewie Griffin, the infant who not only speaks in an adult voice but has ambitions of ruling the world.

There is also the reverse: the child in the body of an adult, or with abilities that he or she lacks sufficient psychological maturity to handle responsibly. There’s the Billy Mumy role as the sinister, all-powerful child in the classic Twilight Zone episode “It’s a Good Life,” based on the Jerome Bixby short story. The traditional portrayal of the Hulk is of a being with a tantrum-prone, childlike mind within a superhumanly strong adult body.

On first viewing, Gaiman’s version of Sprite is the emotionally immature child with vast “adult” powers. Enraged at being treated as a child by the other Eternals for a million years, Sprite misused his super-powers to punish them. Using his powers of illusion, he manipulated his fellow Eternals Zuras and Ajak into joining with him in a “Uni-Mind,” a collective consciousness, that drew power from the Dreaming Celestial. (Earlier in the series Gaiman established that it takes at least four Eternals to form a Uni-Mind, but perhaps only three Eternals are necessary if they are psionically linked with the Dreaming Celestial.) Through this Uni-Mind, Sprite stripped the other Eternals of access to their memories and super-powers, effectively turning them into ordinary human beings, with implanted, false memories of leading ordinary human lives. Sprite also transformed himself into a normal human, minus any Eternal powers, so that he could physically age.

But it seems to me that Sprite is also like the adult in the body of a child. Consider the complexity and execution of Sprite’s master plan. Leaving Sprite’s super-powers aside, could an actual eleven-year-old have conceived, planned, and carried out such a scheme? Although Sprite uses words like “cool” and “dumb” the way a real kid might, most of the dialogue that Gaiman gives him, including his monologuing here, reads like an adult speaking.

Moreover, one of Sprite’s principal motivations seems to be intense sexual frustration. He tells Mark about Sersi, “Of course, by then she’d had sexual relations with all the straight male Eternals, all sixty of them, except me. . .because I was eleven. . . ” (Gaiman issue 4 p. 15). This doesn’t seem like a typical crush an eleven-year-old boy might have on an attractive adult woman. That “sexual relations” phrase suggests to me that Sprite, despite being physically prepubescent, psychologically has a very active postpubescent sex drive.

That Sprite quotation also prompts me to digress for a bit. Out of roughly a hundred Eternals, sixty are straight males. So the other forty Eternals are either females or gay males? Seems a bit odd that the male/female ratio isn’t more even. And Sersi has had “sexual relations” with all the straight male Eternals past puberty? Sersi isn’t a first generation Eternal (in fact, you can see her as a child in ancient Mesopotamia in Captain America Annual #11, 1992), so what about her father (who is named Helios, by the way)? Or father figure Zuras? Well, this is the intensely jealous Sprite saying this, so perhaps he’s exaggerating. One of the points of this page of the fourth issue is that over their incredibly long lives the Eternals have sexually paired up in all possible combinations considering their individual sexual orientations. It is gratifying to know that Sersi never stooped to having sex with children, much as Sprite may regret it.

It seems to me that Sprite’s intellect and even his sexual desires have matured, but not his emotions or his capacity for moral judgment. Why does he want to become an adult? “I wanted to be a film star and a rock star and a TV star. I wanted everyone to love me. I’m going to stay a star until I’m in my twenties, for the girls. And then. . .Well, that depends.” Actually, despite his claim that he wants to be treated as an adult, Sprite really seems to want to be an adolescent. He has no concrete goal for himself once he has passed the physical age of nineteen. His current goals are shallow, self-centered, and deeply immature: he just wants to be famous and to be universally loved, and, I suspect, to get laid a lot by “the girls.”

Sprite claims he wants to get older, but emotionally he represents an extreme case of arrested development, or, more specifically and appropriately, the mindset that pop psychology terms “Peter Pan syndrome,” which entails both irresponsibility and narcissism.

The clearest sign of Sprite’s narcissism is his ambition to be a “star” whom everybody loves. Like so many of the other characters I mentioned earlier who are simultaneously children and adults, Sprite is in show business, a field which encourages aging people to take extreme measures to hold onto their youth, and which bestows fame, celebrity, wealth and power upon people who may be too psychologically immature to cope with it wisely.

In Gaiman’s Eternals, television programs consist of Sprite’s lowest common denominator sitcom for tweens and a superhero reality show that turns the noble calling of the superhero into a quest for fame and fortune. (As the Spider-Man theme song observes, “Action is his reward,” not big bucks.) I wonder if Gaiman means to suggest that there is something emotionally immature and adolescent about, not just the current state of the superhero genre, but about American (or British and American?) popular culture as a whole, or perhaps even the American fascination with celebrity and wealth. No wonder that the immature Sprite prospers in such a culture.

I also recall that in Lev Grossman’s profile of Gaiman in July 26, 2007 issue of Time, Neil said that “Five years ago, I was absolutely as famous as I wanted to be. . . .I’m now more famous than I’m comfortable with,” and Grossman observed that Gaiman is “leery of selling out to the popular crowd.” I wonder if in Eternals Neil is using the platform of a Marvel comic, supposedly aimed at the more “popular crowd” among comics readers, to examine the dark side of fame and its pursuit and the dangers of selling out rather than following one’s true calling.

And this is a variation on a classic Marvel theme. Remember that Spider-Man started out as a boy who, upon acquiring super-powers, initially went into show business, until he had to face the terrible result of his self-centered pursuit of fame and fortune: his failure to prevent his uncle’s death.

“I could have done whatever I wanted to the world,” Sprite says. Remember when the Red Skull or Thanos acquired the Cosmic Cube in past Marvel epics, and how they wanted to use it to alter reality on a grand, visionary albeit evil scale. And then consider what Sprite says: “I could have made the seas run red, or made snow taste like chocolate. I thought about it.” Claiming to want to be merely an adult human, Sprite instead achieved godhood, yet he ends up seriously considering juvenile trivialities. “But in the end I settled for this. Stardom and puberty,” which in this context seem merely a higher order of triviality. “I’m a real boy now,” Sprite declares, as if he were Pinocchio’s evil twin (Gaiman issue 4 p. 20).

Trying to imagine his future beyond turning twenty, Sprite says, “But whatever I do, I do it as a human. I can leave the solar system, which is more than any Eternal can” (Gaiman issue 4, p. 20). Well, first, leaving the solar system is not something that humans ordinarily do. Unless Sprite thinks he can steal the Fantastic Four’s spaceship, just how is he going to do this? Second, back in Avengers #248 (October 1984) most of the Eternals, united into a Uni-Mind, departed Earth for outer space, and I do not think that the Eternals, who seem to be such social beings, would be interested in merely exploring the uninhabited planets in our solar system; I expect they left to visit other, inhabited worlds. This also means that Sprite must have used the power of the Dreaming Celestial to bring all those Eternals back from outer space and give them human identities on Earth. I suppose Sprite would think that was a safer course of action for him rather than worrying that the other Eternals might someday return and disrupt his plans.

Then Sprite tells Mark Curry, “I can even die–do you know how cool that is?” (Gaiman issue 4 p. 20). Yet it is hard to believe that someone who is so infatuated with being famous and universally beloved, goals which require being alive, has any comprehension of what death is. Perhaps here Gaiman is criticizing the shallowness of an adolescent fascination with death. Or perhaps Gaiman is indicating that Sprite, who has disposed of his entire community of Eternals, and who has bonded with the Dreaming Celestial, a potential bringer of death, is ultimately motivated by a death wish.

It seems odd that Sprite wants to be mortal when he shows such contempt for mortal humans, calling them “transients” and “mayflies”: remember, he used to devote himself to playing pranks on mortals. To become mortal himself may subconsciously be to direct that hatred towards himself, as if he were punishing himself–as well as his fellow Eternals–for his long life of continual frustration.

Sprite claims he wants to grow up, and “be a man” (Gaiman issue 4 p. 20), but what he really wants is to indulge all his childish fantasies without there being any adult Eternals to tell him no. He really is Peter Pan gone bad, after all. In drawing upon the power of the Dreaming Celestial, the Satan of the Eternals mythos, Sprite has metaphorically made a deal with the devil to remain eternally young–and dangerously immature–to the end of his life, which would come far more quickly than an Eternal could imagine, even if he lived to be a hundred.

Here’s another digression. Gaiman establishes that the prison of the Dreaming Celestial is beneath San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. This enables Gaiman to tie in the great 1906 San Francisco earthquake to his story, and look, Sprite indicates that Olympia was in Antarctica, not Greece, back then, too (Gaiman issue 4 p. 16). But past stories have placed the Dreaming Celestial’s prison beneath the Diablo Mountains (appropriate name) (see the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe entry). The northern part of the Diablo range lies near San Francisco, but not within the city limits. Well, I suppose this is close enough. It seems that even imprisoned space gods move in mysterious ways. It does seem rather impractical for the Celestials to have imprisoned the Dreaming Celestial in such a seismically active area, though.

A more important question is whether Neil Gaiman’s treatment of Sprite fits Jack Kirby’s original conception of the character. Kirby seems to allude to Shakespeare’s Puck, but Sprite also fits into the long tradition of boy pranksters in comics and cartoon art that encompasses the Katzenjammer Kids and Bart Simpson. Such characters are troublesome, but certainly not evil, and their rebelliousness against authority is appealing. “Kirby’s Margo Damian observes about Sprite, “He’s only a boy! Even young Eternals love to play pranks!” (Kirby p. 173).

Still, I can see from Sprite’s initial appearances in the Kirby series why Gaiman took the character in the direction that he chose. Sprite’s pranks are rather mean, inconsiderate, and even dangerous (see Kirby pgs. 147-149). When Ikaris punishes Sprite by spanking him, Sprite implies he will take revenge (Kirby pgs. 172-173). One Eternal even says, “That little fool, Sprite, will cause a war someday” (Kirby p. 150). Zuras comments, “the youth ignore all but their youth!!” (Kirby, p. 150), a remark which, in hindsight, takes on ominous implications considering Sprite’s behavior in the Gaiman series. It seems to me that Kirby’s version of sprite even vaguely resembles a boyish Loki.

It’s Sprite’s later appearance in the Kirby series that indicates that there may be more to Sprite than the “brat” Makkari claims he is (Kirby p. 173). While most other Eternals have merged into a Uni-Mind, Sprite learns that the Deviants are about to attack the Celestial mothership. I get the impression that the imminent danger has shaken Sprite out of his usual childish misbehavior and forced him to behave like a mature adult. “Oh, stupid Sprite–! Monarch of muddle-heads! You’ve seen too much! The fate of the Earth has been thrust into your quaking lap! Something must be done!” the frightened Sprite tells himself (Kirby p. 260). Sprite goes to the long-exiled Eternal known as the Forgotten One and asks him for help. One could argue that Sprite is merely trying to save his own skin, since he obviously fears that the Celestials might again devastate the Earth in retaliation for a Deviant attack. But it seems to me that Kirby portrays Sprite as genuinely impressed by the Forgotten One’s heroic qualities: “I call upon you for your strength. . .and one unselfish universal act. . .” (Kirby p. 262). (It seems that the outwardly childlike Sprite always spoke in an “adult” manner.)

The original Eternals series was canceled before Kirby could bring either Sprite or the Forgotten One back, so we will never know what he intended to do next with these characters. My hypothesis is that Kirby thought that Sprite was capable of redemption, and that perhaps he intended Sprite to become the Forgotten One’s sidekick when the latter presumably eventually returned to Earth as an agent of the Celestials. Neil Gaiman has taken Sprite in an intriguing direction, but I suspect that this represents Gaiman’s most significant deviation from what I guess were Kirby’s intentions for his Eternals characters.

In a dream Thena recalls a battle in which she single-handedly defeated a hundred thousand Deviant warriors (Gaiman issue 4 p. 21). The sequence reminds me of how much and how quickly Jack Kirby’s concept of superheroines evolved in a decade and a half. In the early Fantastic Four Susan Storm’s super-powers–invisibility and projecting force fields– seemed designed for hiding and shielding her from danger; her male FF partners took much more active roles in combat. The Wasp fired her sting, and Marvel Girl and the Scarlet Witch stood and gestured to use their powers; none of them grappled hand to hand with their adversaries. Big Barda, who debuted in Kirby’s Mister Miracle in 1971, initially seemed like a caricature of a woman warrior, but soon evolved into a more appealing, three-dimensional personality while remaining a formidable fighter. With Thena and Sersi in Eternals in 1976, Kirby created women warriors who were both fierce and feminine.

Chris Claremont rightly gets credit for reimagining the superheroine as the formidable equal of the male superhero in X-Men and other titles in the latter half of the 1970s, but it’s important to note that Jack Kirby was simultaneously moving in the same direction. Though they were from different generations, both Claremont and Kirby were responding to the emerging feminist zeitgeist.

Here’s another problem posed in attempting to deal with “Marvel time,” which moves more slowly than real time. Thena has a son who seems not much younger than Reed and Susan Richards’ son Franklin. But Franklin was born in 1968 in real time, while Joey was presumably born since Thena appeared in New Eternals: Apocalypse Now in 2000. All right, so maybe Sprite used the Dreaming Celestial’s power to alter reality to speed up Joey’s aging process, or maybe even to create him, and make Thena and her husband think he was born and grew normally. (I’m going to expect a pile of No-Prizes once I’ve finished solving all the continuity conundrums in these Eternals essays.)

Waking from her dream, Thena finds herself in her Eternal costume. She tells the confused Joey that “It’s still Momma,” but the omniscient narrator informs us that “And even as she says it, she knows it isn’t true” (Gaiman issue 4 p. 23). (By the way, it’s commendable that Gaiman employs third person narration in captions, which is a classic Marvel tradition but had fallen from favor in recent years.) Notice how John Romita, Jr. draws Thena holding her son up by the back of his shirt. This is hardly the way that a loving mother would carry her child: “Momma” has indeed changed. I disagree with what Gaiman and Romita are hinting here about the Eternals’ attitudes towards humans, but I will return to this subject later.

At the end of issue 4 Ikaris teams up with Thena to stop the Deviants from awakening the Dreaming Celestial, and at the beginning of issue 5 the Deviants Morjak and Gelt capture Sprite. Obviously in transforming himself into an ordinary human, Sprite badly blundered in not anticipating that he might need his superpowers in a circumstance like this. Another Eternal who was long thought dead, Ajak, acts as Campbellian “herald” to the Eternals” leader Zuras, who has been reduced to a mad derelict. Ajak issues the “call to adventure” to Zuras, who awakens to his true identity.

Ajak says that he sent Morjak and Gelt after Ikaris, thinking Ikaris would be safer in the “regeneration chamber” in Olympia. I don’t understand why Ajak couldn’t have just told Ikaris to lie low, or how much “safer” Ikaris really was considering that Ajak admits that he had those Deviants kill him. Ajak confesses that he made mistakes; yes, I’d agree with that.

Then Ajak tells Zuras, “Ikaris is fully reactivated. The other four”–Makkari, Sersi, Thena and Druig–“will not reactivate completely until they go though a death and rebuild, but they are no longer human” (Gaiman issue 5, p. 6). By the end of Gaiman’s series, Ikaris is the only Eternal who has gone through death and rebuilding. What does this mean about the others? They have their powers back, and Zuras and Ajak seem to have their full memories back. Does this mean that, except for Ikaris, the others can be killed, albeit with great difficulty, and then Olympia’s technology will resurrect them and restore them to full Eternal status?

Ajak warns that if the Dreaming Celestial wakes, then the “Horde” will come and wipe out all life, not just on Earth, but in “this part of the galaxy” (Gaiman issue 5 p. 6). This time the word “Horde” is not mistakenly being used to refer to a Celestial Host, nor is this horde to be confused with the Horde from Marvel’s 1980s cult series Strikeforce: Morituri, which is not set in the Marvel Universe and which was co-created by Peter Gillis, one of the authors of the second Eternals series. The Dreaming Celestial later describes the Horde as “the locusts of the universe” (Gaiman issue 6 p. 33). Kirby indicated that Arishem could use a “formula” imprinted on his hand to destroy the Earth. (This is reminiscent of the “anti-life formula” in Kirby’s Fourth World books.) Is Gaiman implying that the Dreaming Celestial isn’t powerful enough to destroy the Earth by himself, and needs to call in the Horde to do it for him?

Then again, Gaiman’s series never explicitly states that the Dreaming Celestial summoned the Horde. Maybe the Horde is used by the other Celestials as a fail-safe: if the Dreaming Celestial should wake then they will wipe out all life in his subgalactic vicinity, thus making sure that he is destroyed.

In a scene that follows, Druig uses his powers to perpetrate a massacre, which he plans to blame on a minority group as part of his plan to take control of the nation of Vorozheika. One of his captives calls, “Hail Druig!” (Gaiman issue 5 p. 13), which should remind readers of “Heil Hitler!”

Last week I observed that there is a trend in pop culture of supervillains succeeding in taking over countries. Several hours after posting last week’s column, I found myself watching an episode of Warners Animation’s Pinky and the Brain on Toon Disney, in which the Brain, mouse turned megavillain, provides me with further evidence by taking over a South Pacific island and renaming it “Brainania.” (From the vantage point of 2007, it strikes me that this 1990s animated series seems unwittingly to foreshadow the partnership of our current President and Vice President: Bushy and the Chene, if you will.)

Morjak tells his captive, Mark Curry, that the Second Host of the Celestials ate Deviants; that Ajak, who can communicate with the Celestials, told the Deviants this; and that the Dreaming Celestial was imprisoned for protesting the devouring of the Deviants (Gaiman issue 5 p. 16).

Readers should be wary of believing this. For one thing, later on, Mark Curry asks the Dreaming Celestial why the other Celestials put him “to sleep,” and the Dreaming Celestial says that Curry “wouldn’t understand” (Gaiman issue 6 p. 32). If the Dreaming Celestial was punished for trying to prevent the Deviants from being eaten, why wouldn’t Mark understand that? No, Gaiman appears to be signaling that the Dreaming Celestial’s offense was something different, something that humans–and Eternals–cannot comprehend. Besides, Kirby did not show the Second Host eating Deviants; rather, Kirby seemed to indicate that the Second Host remained aboard their mothership and struck down the Deviants from above. Moreover, if the Celestials regarded the Deviants as “delicacies,” why didn’t they take the Deviants into space with them, in case they get the munchies during those long interstellar journeys?

The main reason that I object to the idea that the Celestials eat Deviants is that it diminishes what should be the godlike grandeur of the “space gods.” The key to Kirby’s Celestials is their inscrutability. Their reasoning is beyond mortal comprehension; we do not know what they want or what they think. If they gobble up Deviants, who, remember, are closely related to ordinary humans like us, then the Celestials’ motives are all too clear: they are evil beings who regard their sentient creations as if they were livestock bred for the dinner table. The Eternals would therefore be evil themselves for serving such masters. Besides, it diminishes the Celestials’ godlike status even to suggest that they eat. We should not even be certain that the Celestials have physical forms beneath that armor: Kirby never let us see a Celestial without his helmet.

Notice that Morjak says that the Deviants “were the food of the gods” and that Celestials considered a Deviant soul to be a “delicacy” (Gaiman issue 5., p. 16). Morjak doesn’t seem appalled by this; he appears to be speaking with pride. That’s the key to recognizing that Morjak’s speech to Curry is merely self-aggrandizing fantasy. The Deviants want to believe that the Dreaming Celestial, who, like them, rebelled against the Second Host, is their benefactor. But notice that once the Dreaming Celestial wakes, he shows no interest in the Deviants whatsoever, not even as potential snack food. As for Morjak’s claiming that Ajak told the Deviants about this, well, this is hearsay, which would be inadmissible in court. Maybe Morjak genuinely believes Ajak told a Deviant this, but that could be an unfounded rumor. Or perhaps Morjak is just lying to Mark.

Ikaris and Thena, in Eternal costumes, visit Sersi, who says, “I get it. You’re super heroes. This is like an arrest. I’ll be dragged to a secret government CIA torture camp until I sign your frickin’ loyalty pledge” (Gaiman issue 5 p. 17). How interesting that, thanks to Marvel’s Civil War, Sersi now assumes that superheroes work as enforcers for the United States government. Moreover, isn’t it quite possible that by having Sersi talk about a “loyalty pledge,” Gaiman wants to remind us yet again about Civil War’s superhero registration act? And hey, in Civil War, superheroes who refused to register did get locked up in a secret prison.

Only a few pages later, Sersi’s friend Abigail is watching the reality TV show America’s Next Super Hero, and hears its host say that “If you’re a super hero, doing the right thing is the important thing to do. The right thing.” Like saving lives? Like fighting thieves and murderers? The host continues, “Like getting registered.” And then he welcomes back Grace Darling, the super-powered contestant who had earlier defied “legal waivers” to help fight the terrorists at the Vorozheikan party. Apparently she has been pressured into knuckling under. “This is such a dumb show,” Abigail significantly comments (Gaiman issue 5 p. 21).

As the fifth issue comes to an end, Morjak and Galt utilize Mark Curry’s Eternal powers to free the Dreaming Celestial from his underground tomb. Then the two Deviants wait for sunrise, when the Dreaming Celestial, like dreamers in general, will awake. And you readers must wait a week for the sixth and, I hope, final installment of my critique of Neil Gaiman’s Eternals.

ADVERTISEMENTS FOR MYSELF

In the October 9, 2007 edition of Publishers Weekly’s online newsletter Comics Week, you can read my report on the New Yorker Festival’s “Superheroes” panel, whose participants included Tim Kring, creator of TV’s Heroes; novelist Jonathan Lethem, writer of Marvel’s revival of Omega the Unknown; Mike Mignola, creator of Hellboy; and Grant Morrison, writer for Animal Man, Doom Patrol, Flash, JLA, Superman, X-Men and many more superhero comics.

-Copyright 2007 Peter Sanderson

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