Eternals, British comics and some Valiant heroes: graphic novels

The Eternals are Marvel characters who’ve never interested me outside of Jack Kirby’s original Eternals series — they’re such a very Kirby concept I don’t care what anyone else does with them. ETERNALS: Only Death is Eternal by Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic doesn’t change that.The concept of the Eternals since the original Bronze Age series (see above for Kirby’s art) is apparently that they’re some kind of machine life serving Earth (which is also a machine) to protect humanity for the Celestials (this is close enough to Chloe Zhao’s Eternals I assume it’s as much an influence as Kirby). They’re not immortal per se, but the machine resurrects them when they die — except it’s not happening, Zuras is dead and they need to find out why? While the narration is often amusing, the story’s so-so and way too much stock recycling of Burden Of Immortality tropes. The Big Reveal about how the machine really works didn’t impress me at all. So I’ll skip Vol. 2

STEEL CLAW: Invisible Man by Kenneth Bulmer and Jesus Blanco collects the beginning of a long running British comic strip (this comes from the early 1960s and lasted on into the next decade) about Louis Crandall, who as a result of a freak lab accident gets the power of temporary invisibility whenever he’s exposed to electricity — except for his eponymous prosthetic. At first he uses his power for crime but by the end of the book he’s reformed and settled down (he thinks) to a quiet, ordinary life. This will, obviously, not work out. The art is good, the stories are decent.

DR. MESMER’S REVENGE by Donne Avnell and Carlos Crus was a much less successful collection. Mesmer is a somewhat deranged collector of Egyptian antiquities; when some crooks rip off his collection, he reanimates the mummy Angor to hunt them down and reclaim his goods. As Angor isn’t very fussy about collateral damage, Scotland Yard is soon involved in trying to stop him. This premise also shifted as it went along but doesn’t really hit its stride until Mesmer gets hurled back in time to ancient Egypt alongside some of the cops, then returns with even more powers. Part of the problem is that Tom Stone, the bobby trying to stop him, never really gets as much heroic action as Tim Wilson in Black Max. Overall, this was forgettable.Now some Valiant stuff — BLOODSHOT: Book One by Tim Seeley and Brett Booth focuses on the eponymous nannite powered hero, seeking to atone for the wrongs he did when he was working for the bad guys. As some online reviews put it, this is a very 1990s comic book, from the name to the constant Action Action Action (apparently this ignores some of the past character work on Bloodshot, whom I’m unfamiliar with). That said, I enjoyed this.

RAI: Book One by Dan Abnett and Juan José Ryp continues the adventures of another Valiant hero, in a distant future SF setting. Rai is a Japanese cyborg who overthrow the tyrannical Japanese AI Father and now seeks the remaining components of Father’s programming to destroy them too. It’s readable but not quite as interesting as Bloodshot, despite me liking lots of Abnett’s earlier work

MY LITTLE PONY/TRANSFORMERS: Friendship in Disguise by multiple creators is more fun than anything on this page except Steel Claw. The Changeling Queen of the Ponyverse attempts to summon other Changelings as allies, gets the Transformers, and we have a series of short stories where different ponies and robots pair up. This suffered from me barely knowing the My Little Pony stories at all (and this doesn’t make me want to read them more) but the same is true of Rai and Bloodshort and I still liked this better.

#SFWApro. Bloodshot cover by Booth, not sure who did the crossover image. All rights remain with current holders.

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