The Marvel Rundown kicks off with Thanos’ visit to his Grandfather in Eternals: The Heretic #1. Will they bond over common interests or argue about politics at the dinner table?

All that and our Rapid Rundown, highlighting Amazing Spider-Man #92.BEY, Avengers #54, and Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher #1, down below the break!

Eternals - The Heretic #1 Cover
Eternals – The Heretic #1

Eternals: The Heretic #1

Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artists: Ryan Bodenheim & Edgar Salazar
Color Artist: Chris O’Halloran
Letterer & Designer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Andrea Sorrentino

I can’t get over how good these Eternals one-shots are. While they may be designed as optional glimpses at future plot-points for those who want additional story teases, these issues have to be mandatory. Not only do they give series artist Esad Ribić time to work on the next part of the main book, but they give Kieron Gillen and a plethora of amazing artists the chance to flex their storytelling muscles and fill in some unknown piece of Eternals lore. 

The late Ryan Bodenheim submitted what would become his final line work here and it is nothing short of spectacular. The figures are moody and epic, with a great sense of weight and depth to them. It’s devastating to have lost Bodenheim at such a young age, as it seems like he had so much more in store. Edgar Salazar comes on to finish the rest of the issue and does a solid job of matching Bodenheim’s style, making the book feel cohesive all around.

Uranos on his throne in the Exclusion
I mean, just look at this guy

While not the colorist on the main series, Chris O’Halloran does a phenomenal job throughout this one-shot of capturing the same palette Matthew Wilson typically uses, while still distinguishing this as its own unique issue. There’s this weathered and hazy air of mystery that comes from the coloring, and it gives the story a great deal of heft.

It’s interesting to see how Uranos is characterized here. For better and for worse, we’ve seen many different Darkseid Thanos analogs over the years, and while they can often come off as cheap imitations of the original, that doesn’t feel like the case for Uranos. He’s the extreme evolution of the ideas Thanos espouses, but he isn’t an extreme nuisance on the page. Uranos feels instrumental to this new, redefined Eternals canon Gillen is building — truly a proto-Thanos that showcases the evolution of their rationalized genocidal goals.

I’m not sure if I’m totally sold on this idea yet, but aside from Thanos (who is the most fascinating he’s been to me, maybe ever?), I think Druig might be the most interesting character in this series so far. I’m sure I’m not the first to say this, but he scratches the same itch Loki does (or did before his turn to semi-heroics), and it’s great to see him as this conniving snake who manipulates everyone and everything for his own self-preservation. We get a peek into how he’s served different masters over the years and how he’s almost certainly going to betray Thanos sometime soon. 

Druig shows Thanos where Uranos is, while the Machine freaks out
The machine noping out of here is wonderful

As with every issue of this series, I finished reading this one-shot and immediately felt the urge to go back and read every Eternals story ever. There’s just so much going on in this issue that I’m sure has either strong roots in prior stories or subtle hints in the background of other stories. Clayton Cowles’ design work with the data pages fills in some really helpful gaps and makes this world feel so much more fleshed out than it probably is. You could’ve told me Valkin was in a ton of different Eternals books before this series and I’d believe you, even if a quick glance at the Marvel Wiki says that he’s only ever had around twenty mentions before this one.

This all just speaks to the strength of the world-building in this series and I’m so excited to see where all of this is headed. The whole series is shaping up to be a grand sweeping epic, and if Gillen’s The Wicked and the Divine is any indication, I think we’re in it for the long haul. I didn’t even talk about the last page reveal, but I’m sure we’ll get to that little wrinkle within the next few issues.

Final Verdict: BUY. Eternals and its accompanying one-shots are just fantastic and are absolutely essential reading from Marvel right now.

Rapid Rundown!

Spidey, Avengers, and Reckoning War Header for 3/16/22

  • Avengers #54
    • This book just shines whenever the Masters of Evil are on the page, with Jason Aaron clearly having the time of his life writing this somehow even more arrogant version of Doom. When it comes to the Avengers, however, it frankly reads like a run-of-the-mill Avengers story with the usual bombast that you’d expect, which certainly isn’t what was promised in that #750 anniversary issue that I really liked. The story somehow feels smaller and smaller with each subsequent issue, but at least it’s gorgeous! Juan Frigeri really impressed me with their work on Guardians of the Galaxy with Al Ewing, nailing the big action moments as well as the conversation scenes. He’s a solid, reliable Avengers artist and I wish he had a better story to work with here. —HW
  • Reckoning War: Trial of the Watcher #1
    • The universe is under attack from the Reckoning, an alien force armed with weapons designed by the Watchers before their oath of non-interference. Uatu, Earth’s local observer summoned his fellow Watchers to fight this threat only to be put on trial by his father for his constant tampering with the goings-on of Earth and her Heroes. Writer Dan Slott and artist Javier Rodríguez pull a great switcheroo turning a cosmic court case into a What If? In this case “What If the Watcher Had Never Interfered?” Uatu is forced, Clockwork Orange style, to see what would have happened to Earth if he hadn’t helped the Fantastic Four against Galactus. Initially, because this is part of an event, I was going to hate-read this issue but found myself enjoying the What If twist and retro art stylings. —GC3
  • Amazing Spider-Man #92.BEY
    • This issue is The Return of the King of comic books: it has, like, half a dozen endings! The Beyond era of ASM was an extremely interesting experiment, and while some aspects of it may have worked better for me than others, I’m overall very interested in the results the strange, multi-creator’d rotating Beyond Team have accomplished over the course of the project. This “anthology-style” ending gives many of the creator teams the chance to provide a few pages of epilogue to their respective storylines. Possibly my favorite was the one centered on Doug, who knows how to navigate Human Resources with the best of them. Good luck out there, Doug! You’ve already got everything you need to succeed. —AJK

Next Week: X Deaths of Wolverine #5 and Demon Days: Blood Feud #1 concludes the Demon Days Saga!


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