COMIC BOOKS: Eternals: Hail Thanos

Sep. 3—"Eternals: Hail Thanos" wraps the latest take on Marvel's eons-old protectors of Earth.

Here, cosmic bad guy Thanos learns he's related to the Eternals/Deviants, warring groups that protect and endanger the Earth respectively. Through several deft and brutal maneuvers, Thanos is elected Eternal Prime, the leader of the Eternals.

Meanwhile, the Eternals are sickened by their million-year war with the Deviants. Lucky for them Thanos is more interested in the origin of his creation rather than paying too close attention to what the Eternals are doing ... though he mercilessly endeavors to keep both Eternals and Deviants at bay at every turn.

The Eternals visit the giant body of what was once the cosmic Celestial assigned to Earth — the same massive corpse which is now the Avengers headquarters. The Eternals hope to commune with the Celestial's spirit about ending the war ... but they have to confront the Avengers to do it. Meanwhile, Thanos repeatedly kills and resurrects his parents to interrogate them and dive into their psyches for the answers he seeks.

Kieron Gillen writes this storyline with top-notch art by Esad Ribic. Gillen and Ribic bring a grandeur to the Eternals — a characteristic one should expect given their larger-than-life creation by comic book legend Jack Kirby.

As in many more recent Marvel tales, Thanos is portrayed as more of the ultra-powered beast rather than the more philosophical madman originally created by Jim Starlin. Thanos runs the risk in some of these stories of becoming a stock super-villain of merciless arrogance rather than the more nuanced, unpredictable character of old. This Thanos relies more on violent force rather than outwitting his opponents.

Still, "Hail Thanos" is a solid conclusion to this "Eternals" run. Though it's been a few months since an issue of "Eternals" has been released, Gillen and Ribic hopefully have more Eternals stories to tell.