By: Rob Rodi (writer), Stephen Segovia (penciller), Jason Paz (inker), Andy Troy (colorist)
The Story: Ereshkigal, an uncommonly ancient deviant (of the Eternal-Human-Deviant triangle created by Jack Kirby in his Eternals #1 of 1977) is scavenging about the ruins of Asgard for some device that might help her get back into power in the Deviant state, which is in the grips of a devastating plague. Thor arrives, unimpressed with this burglar.
What’s Good: I very much enjoyed the Segovia-Paz-Troy team-up. The visuals were clear, detailed and well-composed. Segovia and Paz used varying camera angles and the lines of the figures to really command the eye to different parts of the panels or the page (in the case of the splashes). By example, I’d like to mention the point of view on Thor’s arrival, and the micro-struggle between Ereshkigal and Thor that follows. Troy’s palette choices supported this. Check out the double and single splash pages to see how he did this. The details in the draftsmanship were evocative and I especially liked the pyramidal structure in Asgard that Odin and Thor were standing on. As a bit of a quibble, I should say that this looked Meso-American, rather than Viking, in style and that the defenses on the vault looked more like something out of Lovecraft than the Icelandic Sagas. But, stylistic points aside I did enjoy the art.
What’s Not So Good: The writing hit me the wrong way, especially the plot. Word-wise, this was a book thick with words. That’s not a bad thing in and of itself, but when the story doesn’t hold water, the whole project sinks. I just didn’t buy the string of coincidences, the sudden shifts in narrative and the limp characterizations. This issue depends on three, hard-to-swallow coincidences: (1) in the past, an alien who happens to have destroyed his entire universe makes an random interdimensional escape gate which happens to bring him and his universe-destroying object to Asgard where Thor and Odin are holding court, (2) in the present, that universe-destroying object, instead of being *in* the vaults beneath Asgard happens to be *outside* the vaults, and (3) Thor’s hammer just happens not to be able to track Ereshkigal right when Thor needs to find her. Perhaps there is a plan behind this, but if so, Rodi would have been better to have let us know such a presence was moving things behind the scenes. On characterization, I have to say that it was pretty thin. Ereshkigal’s power-hungry motivation is one-dimensional and shown through clichéd dialogue (for example, she speaks to the object “…whatever unspeakable deed you do, I’ll use you to reclaim all the power I’ve lost…”). Likewise, Thor’s heroic protection of this burglar was a bit hard to credit. It is a convention of the medium that good guys protect the good and the bad, but the use of this convention here was as one-dimensional as the villain and resulted in the villain making off with the power to destroy the universe.
Conclusion: Beautiful visuals couldn’t salvage a story that came out of the gates on life-support. I love the Eternals and for this reason picked this up as soon as I saw the title, but I was disappointed. Not recommended.
Follow DS on Twitter.