Gods in New York

The Eternals Volume 2: written and illustrated by Jack Kirby with Mike Royer (1977; collected 2006): Jack Kirby’s loopy, inspired riff on Chariots of the Gods comes to an early end, to be revived approximately every ten years afterwards by other people, including Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. on a real dud of a 2006 revival.

While the 2000-foot-tall alien Celestials continue to wander around Earth as part of their 50-year judgment, the Eternals and their foes the Deviants continue to mix it up on a variety of fronts. We follow Eternal Thena and her two Deviant charges, liberated from the Deviant gladiator pits, as they track down a time-travel menace in New York. An unnamed Eternal dubbed The Forgotten One struggles to stop an ill-advised Deviant assault on the Celestial mothership orbiting Earth.

Phew, what else. An ancient mind-controlling menace gets released from its prison below New York, and even the Eternals know fear. A science project designed to look like the Hulk gets animated by cosmic rays and proceeds to destroy New York. Man, New York takes a pounding. Admittedly, as the home of many of Marvel’s heroes, it really should be completely depopulated by the late 1970’s. How many times can Galactus show up on your streets before you get the message?

Kirby continues to follow different groups on different adventures, often ignoring other protagonists for several issues. It’s highly unusual for a Marvel comic book of the time, but it does allow Kirby to develop a large variety of characters. It certainly died too soon. Recommended.

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