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Eternals #4: Review

Apr 2021
Kieron Gillen, Esad Ribic

Story Name:

Only Death is eternal, part 4

Review & Comments

4 stars

Eternals #4 Review by (April 30, 2021)
I don't believe bitter rivalry between Olympia and Polaria has been expressed before this series. Merely the Polarian Druig being a villainous schemer. This issue is the 1st time we've been told that Polarian Ikaris was handed over to the Olympians in some sort of 'hostage' exchange. I think the writer may have been channelling a different Jack Kirby creation, DC's New Gods:- Darkseid's son Orion was sent to Genesis in exchange for High Father's son Scott Free coming to Apokolips.
On the other hand there's never been given any other explanation why Ikaris hangs out with the Olympian Eternals.

Gilgamesh 1st appeared as the Forgotten One in the original Eternals #13 who had been imprisoned by Zuras for excessive interference in human affairs. We learned that he had been the mythical Gilgamesh.
In our #1 he was mentioned as 1 of the 4 Forgotten, the other 3 being chars we've never met before.
The event Druig mentions may refer to the 2008 series where Sprite made all the Eternals think they were humans. When Gilgamesh got his memory partially back he attacked Druig and some other Eternals and wrecked the Activation Chamber that would resurrect them. But there was no mention there of other Forgotten. And of course the greater Machine is an invention of this series.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Eternals #4 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Thanos has killed the Eternals' leader Zuras and broken the Resurrection Machine so he can't be revived. Someone has to have helped him so Sersi has organised a cabal with Kingo Sunen, Phastos, Sprite and Thena to uncover the traitor. But meanwhile Thanos kills many Eternals of Polaria leaving Druig in charge there which makes him a prime suspect.

Phastos is in the Reality Loom in somewhere called the Isolation, trying to repair the Great Machine (of which the Resurrection Machine is part). He appears to be just hitting it with a hammer, but the Machine's voiceover tells us it only *looks* like a hammer. 1 consequence of the Machine's problems is that climate change is being speeded up, and the humans have noticed. Sersi has arranged dinner with Tony Stark to exchange info. She's not hopeful but it's good to butter him and his Illuminati chums up. (She looks down on his group because they're not even Bavarian. It seems she was a member of the the original Bavarian Illuminati but the voiceover tells us she quit because of their inferior buffets.) She's not going to mention Thanos. She's sure she can handle Tony. She'll flirt with him but try *not* to seduce him - this time.

Kingo and Thena go to Polaria in the Arctic to confront Druig. They had to get there the hard way because he's cut off teleportation network access to the place after the slaughter. As Druig invites them in they try threatening him. The Polarian says he expected Ikaris for that job, but they say he's busy elsewhere ...

... He's in New York looking after teen Toby Robson who a vision (in Titanos in #1) told him he had to protect. Ikaris is watching from the sky as Toby heads for school but he's sent permanently young Sprite to accompany him. Toby warns her that people will think she's his girlfriend. The jokester says she'll risk boy cooties for the cause.

The Machine interrupts the story for a brief history lesson. When the old Eternal capital Titanos fell there was a struggle between other cities to replace it. Celestia became the religious centre but Olympia and Polaria vied for temporal supremacy. War was averted by an exchange of 'hostages' which is how Polarian Ikaris wound up in Olympia.

Thena airs her suspicion that Druig's sudden rise to Polarian leadership when a (hopefully temporary) new Prime Eternal needs to be elected is more than coincidence. Druig points out that his potential electoral base has been drastically reduced. Kingo thinks that expert mind-controller Druig might be able to 'persuade' lots of others to vote for him. The Polarian counters that his fellow Eternals are much more difficult to control than humans. He also reminds Kingo that situations aren't always as clear cut as they seem ...

... cue a flashback to 1242. Ogedei Khan, son of Ghenghis Khan has sent the brilliant General Subutai to invade Europe with the Mongol horde. Kingo Sunen knows Druig is with them and believes he is controlling them. He confronts him at a campfire. A warrior fires an arrow at him which Kingo plucks out of the air. Druig takes him for a walk to avoid further violence. He claims *not* to be mind-controlling the Mongols, and he has had nothing to do with the rise of the Mongol Empire nor their brutally efficient methods. He's just along for the ride to study what happens.

Druig suggests that if Kingo wants to stop the army he could assassinate Subutai. Without him the invasion would crumble. Kingo creeps into the leader's tent but can't bring himself to do it. It was 1 thing to protect humans from Druig, but another to protect them from themselves. He would be taking the control that he accused Druig of.

But in the morning the horde, still led by Subutai, turns back to go home. Druig has stayed behind with a pair of horses for himself and Kingo. He explains that Ogedei Khan has died of a stroke and the Mongols must return home to select a new ruler. Druig claims not to have known what was happening. But he points out that if Kingo *had* killed Subutai then the angry warriors might possibly have decided to continue into Europe for revenge.

In the present Kingo advises Thena not to jump to conclusions. She agrees not to assume he's guilty, but to still maintain him as a suspect. Druig points out that he wouldn't know how to sabotage the Great Machine. Thena counters that a lot of Polarian scientists were killed as well as the potential leaders. Druig admits that would be a good plan - kill his scientist collaborator plus a lot more to muddy the waters. He congratulates Thena on having a mind as devious as his own.

Then Kingo says he doesn't believe Druig *is* guilty - because Thanos has just teleported in to throttle him. He and Thena leap to the defence. The victim Druig doesn't try to run away but instead launches his own mental attack which makes Thanos think he's alone in a totally white space. The Titan reaches out and finds the Polarian again, but Thena seizes the opportunity to run her sword through his chest. Kingo leaps to chop his head off but the villain teleports away to safety.

Somehow Thanos got here and escape via the Machine's teleportation network even though Druig had sealed Polaria off. And now the Machine tells them he's managing to hide in the network itself. Druig reminds them that this was a trick used by Gilgamesh and the Forgotten, who previously managed to deactivate the machine and hated other Eternals especially himself. Thena says they'll need Ikaris if they're going after those Eternals.

When they've gone Thanos teleports back in. Apparently during the fight Druig left a mental message in his head. Now he tells Thanos that he's insulted that the Titan chose some other Eternal(s) to ally with. He should have been his 1st choice as traitor.

Esad Ribic
Esad Ribic
Matthew Wilson
Esad Ribic (Cover Penciler)
Esad Ribic (Cover Inker)
Esad Ribic (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.
Editor: Darren Shan. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: Druig, Great Machine (Eternals AI), Kingo Sunen, Phastos, Sersi, Sprite, Thena, Toby Robson.

> Eternals: Book info and issue index

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