"Eternal #1" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by BOOM! Studios
Written by William Harms
Illustrated by Giovanni Valetta
2014, 32 Pages
Comic released on December 10th, 2014
Thanks to modern technology, we're living a lot longer lives than we once did. As an American, I want to live forever, sitting atop my own personal mountain of belongings, kind of like Scrooge McDuck. What if you didn't have to die? What if you could really live forever? The folks in Eternal can as a result of the advancements made in cloning. If you've ever seen Battlestar Galactica, it works along the same lines. Once you die, a clone pops out with all of your memories and life experiences.
This sounds great in theory, but not everyone sees eye to eye as to how to use this cutting edge technology. You've got people having "death parties" and trying to think of the most creative ways to kill themselves. That's actually kind of funny and sort of like indie comic Suicide 5, but these folks get to come back to life. On the other end of the spectrum is a form of terrorism. There's a military-esque organization called New Life that is holding people captive for their genetic codes for some reason. The Human Liberation Army is trying to free them and the battles are escalating. It's one thing to fight an enemy willing to sacrifice his own life in battle. It's quite another when he can do it repeatedly.
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The future presented in Eternal is pretty bleak. Even the cops have it rough. This is like an absolute worst case scenario. It's science gone horribly wrong and put into evil hands to be exploited. Corruption runs rampant and no one seems to care outside of people like the Human Liberation Army, which is really just limping along, desperate to make a difference.
There are still a number of questions regarding the story in Eternal. If I hadn't read the issue solicitation description, I wouldn't have fully grasped what was going on. I don't expect the full story to be revealed within the debut issue, but there should be a bit more to hook the reader. As it stands, it opens with a military group swarming a normal looking apartment building, which leads to a woman committing suicide only to wake up somewhere else. I got that much but why is all this happening? Why are they fighting New Life?
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Eternal is set in the year 2270. It's in the future but not so far in the future that we've all grown gills or something. Artist Giovanni Valetta captures this time period very well. There are some futuristic looks, but for the most part things are just as they are now. People aren't wearing identical jumpsuits, but computers look a lot sleeker, almost like something out of Minority Report but not quite. I only saw one hologram. The real advancement was cloning and it looks like society's focus was really on that and everything else kind of fell to the wayside. You'd think that with near immortality people would find better designers or architects.
Eternal mixes elements from some of my favorite sci-fi stories. There's a bit of Battlestar Galactica, Post Mortal, and a hint of Blade Runner. It's a heady concept with a lot of moving parts that I want to see fleshed out a bit more. The book is just starting to build up some steam and I'm interested in seeing where it goes once it's moving at full speed.