X-Men villain forced the Eternals into a team too strange for the MCU

Today, we take a look at when Apocalypse helped create an incredibly short-lived Eternals superhero squad.

In each episode of “If I Pass This Way Again,” we take a look at comic book plot points that were rarely (sometimes NEVER!) Mentioned again after their introduction.

For a little while, about eight years ago, Marvel started pushing the Inhumans really hard. Whether it was specifically a desire to “replace” the X-Men since Marvel did not have access to the X-Men at the time for the Marvel Cinematic Universe when they did have access to the Inhumans did really isn’t the point, the point is that this was clearly happening, that the Inhumans were getting a major push as characters. It was interesting because it was something that so many Marvel readers had grown used to over many years as the kind of thing that would happen all the time with the X-Titles, where the comics would constantly find ways to bond with the X-Men as a way to sell a character or concept. A number of characters have discovered they are mutants and some, like Namor, have seen their mutant heritage come to the fore after decades without it really being a “thing.” The late 1990s was still around that time when people attached characters to the X-Men in any way they could and this gave us the wonderfully bizarre attempt to turn the Eternals into a more traditional superhero squad via the famous villain. X-Men, Apocalypse.


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WHAT WAS THE STATUS QUO FOR THE ETERNALS IN THE LATE 90S?

As I’ve discussed a few times recently, Jack Kirby’s take on the Eternals was more or less based on the idea that the Eternals were in their own universe. The whole concept was what if humanity found out that the gods were walking among them, and demons too, and the SUPER GODS were now returning to Earth? It was a popular concept in science fiction at the time, especially after Erich von Däniken published his nominally NON-fiction book, Chariots of the Gods? Unsolved mysteries of the past, which clearly influenced Jack Kirby, as this is the theory that aliens visited Earth millennia ago and gave us the technology and thus initiated the development of the human race. So the Eternals were basically, what if these “gods” (the Celestials) come back?

The idea really didn’t work out that much in a world where the Fantastic Four had previously essentially defeated “God” when he showed up in a purple full-dress outfit wanting to eat the planet.

However, Roy Thomas decided to merge the Eternals into the Marvel continuity (and if Thomas hadn’t, someone else would have done it) and then people hardly did much. with the Eternals. They had a few follow-up streaks and Mark Gruenwald made Makkari of the Eternals a recurring character in Quasar and, most importantly, Sersi joined the Avengers for about five years, but that was about it. The Eternals were popping up here and there and that was it. That’s why they were ripe for a new overhaul and that’s exactly what Karl Bollers and Michael Higgins did with New Eternals: Apocalypse Now # 1, with illustrations by Joe Bennett and Scott Hanna.

As a nod to Kirby as the book revamped its characters, the great José Ladrönn made a Kirby-esque cover for the book …

APOCALYPSE PLAYS ITS HAND AGAINST THE ETERNALS

The issue opens with a brief recap of the basic history of the Eternals (The Celestials came to Earth millennia ago, dividing the inhabitants of Earth into Eternals, Deviants, and Latents, also known as Humans. ), then we see that someone has caused a confrontation between the deviant City of Lemuria and the United States government. As you can imagine, learning that there was an entire city filled with demon-like people who had apparently just blown up an American submarine caused frightening reactions, especially since Bollers and Higgins were linked. to the then recent plot point that Magneto had taken control of Genosha and recognized by the United Nations as a sovereign mutant nation …

So of course this was all an Apocalypse plot, designed to fuel a war between humanity and the Deviants so that it could trigger what would become the Age of Revelation …

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THE ETERNALS FORM A NEW TEAM OF SUPER-HEROES

Meanwhile, we meet four new Eternals in the issue, Chi Demon, Ceyote, Aurelle, and Psykos.

They were all Eternals living among humanity, but when Ikaris called for help due to the machinations of Revelation, all four answered Ikaris’ call.

With the established Eternals like Phastos, Sersi and Thena, as well as the Deviant “Reject”, Ransak, the heroes had to stop an Apocalypse-mutated Karkas (a Deviant who had also come to live with the Eternals), who was rampaging in San Francisco …

Ransak was forced to kill his friend, Karkas, but in the end, Ikaris (who discovered Apocalypse’s involvement in the plot and ceased his ability to mutate more deviants) and the Eternals avoided war between humans. and deviants that Apocalypse was trying to unleash. .

NO ONE IS STILL TALKING ABOUT THE ETERNAL NEW RACE

They then pretended to be a new superhero team to protect the world from knowing the Eternals were one thing. They called themselves the new race and they all adopted new superhero identities (despite Sersi, you know, having been a long-time member of the Avengers once), which was especially strange for the new characters. because they had just debuted and now they were getting superhero names after learning their real names (well, Chi Dragon didn’t even seem to give an initial name, really, just her alias human, Professor Suyin King)…

The idea wasn’t picked up by anyone else and the new breed was never seen again, and then another Eternals redesign / reboot took place a few years later by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr. and this one was much more successful …

This is truly just one of the most striking examples of a “failed launch” in the past 25 years. It’s not that you expected a major overhaul like this to necessarily hit big, but you would generally expect it to last longer than an OUTCOME before everyone ignored it. . Crazy stuff.

I think my boyfriend, Tom A., suggested that I write about this a long time ago. If anyone else has a suggestion for a future If I Pass This Way Again, message me at [email protected]

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