By Fred Van Lente (story), Pascal Alixe (art), Brad Anderson (colors)
I remember when Annual issues were massive beasts, 64 pages in length or more. Sometimes they were apocryphal, sometimes they were crossovers to bigger summer stories, but I always remembered them being, as Alan Moore phrased it “slabs of culture.” I could walk into the shop, lay down two dollars, and walk out with a completely satisfying adventure. But those halcyon days are long gone, and Marvel’s annuals are now reduced to dumping grounds of irrelevant stories and inferior art, padded with reprinted stories for the sake of charging you more money for less original content.
In this total waste of time, the Eternals travel to Madripoor to discover why every man, woman, and child there has been suddenly rendered brain dead. Once there, they are ambushed by the Young Gods, twelve individuals chosen to become deities because they represented the best examples of human achievement. First created to oppose the Celestials, and then later presented to them in order to save humanity, the Young Gods return to Earth believing that the best way to use their powers is by merging the consciousness of everyone on the planet to create a new Celestial.
The two teams battle so that the Young Gods can remind us, repeatedly, that the Eternals are little more than robots that can be downloaded into new bodies after they die, and that it is they who should be humanity’s rightful defenders. The Eternals win the fight and the annual ends abruptly with everyone standing around looking moody and bored. Van Lente had 32 pages to work with here, but somehow he managed to waste every one of them. Furthermore it doesn’t help that Alixe’s art is so painfully unimpressive. Why did Marvel waste their time publishing this? Don’t bother buying, you deserve better.