April 23, 2024

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Noteworthy Issues: Eternals #5 (June, 2021)

There's something wrong with the Great Machine, and it isn't Thanos.

So, Marvel lore says Thanos is an Eternal from the off-shoot on Saturn’s moon of Titan.  He’s running around in this new series.  And he’s causing trouble as he is wont to do.

He’s also not behind everything that’s going wrong.

Issue:  Eternals #5, June 2021

Writer:  Kieron Gillen

Artist:  Esad Ribic

The Plot:  The mystery behind Zuras’s murder takes a backseat for now as the focus goes on who is causing problems with the Great Machine.

Commentary:  So, the basic concept behind the Great Machine is that it, among other things, resurrects dead Eternals into new bodies.  It has a great hand in controlling the Earth’s weather and the like.  Oh, and it seems to be the series’s narrator, and an unreliable one at that.  Maintaining the Great Machine should be every Eternal’s top priority, right?

Not quite, as this issue goes into the lore on the Eternal sometimes known as Gilgamesh.  He’s better known, among Eternals, as the Forgotten One, and that’s because he belongs to an off-shoot that believes the Great Machine is something of a problem, and they interpret their mandate to protect the Earth as being more directly about protecting humanity.  That’s beyond what most Eternals believe, and it actually makes it easy to flush the guy out for questioning.

He didn’t do it either, but he is willing to help if it will prove what he’s been saying all along is true.

Oh, flushing him out is easy because it just takes Sersi’s making some claims to Tony Stark about how she’s going evil and turning on humanity to get the Forgotten One to jump into an ambush.  One mindwipe of Tony later, and that’s all done.

Now, this issue is no closer to revealing who killed Zuras, but it does offer an interesting twist:  if Thanos did kill Zuras, and he might have, he also didn’t intend to.  Thanos senses he’s being controlled somehow.  Druig, working with him, was basically told to back off because Thanos had Mephisto advising him at one point, and Thanos knows a brownnosing manipulator when he hears one.

But who, really, can be powerful enough and subtle enough to manipulate Thanos without Thanos knowing who it is?  Like, at all?  He’s been messed with on a biological level, and he feels something inside of him isn’t right, but he has no idea who did it.

Keep in mind this issue reminded the reader there are some Eternals that the Great Machine won’t reincarnate.  These are Eternals that violated some major Eternal laws.  Sprite, for his/her attempted genocide of the Eternals was until recently on that list.  Among the others are Thanos’s parents for the crime of having Thanos.

There are mysteries on hand, and I like the way Gillen parcels them out.  The Great Machine may be breaking, the Earth may go with it, and someone just sent Thanos off to attack the heroes.

I’d say this was getting good, but it basically already was.

Grade:  B+