Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Esad Ribić
Color Artist: Matthew Wilson
Cover Artist: Esad Ribić
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The Eternals are back, but for how long is the question. A murder mystery exposed the failing state of their Great Machine and the delays of resurrection. However, it also showed that Thanos is back and he’s been enlisted by one of the Eternals: Phastos. Now everything comes to a head in Eternals #6 as we see what Phastos’ madness has wrought.
This comic series has been full of retcons for the Eternals all around, whether you’re talking about their personalities, genders (Sprite was originally a boy and Ajak & Makkari are getting gender-swapped into women), abilities, histories, the nature of their civilization. Even their dynamic with the Deviants at times. Clearly, Kieron Gillen has been having a blast with this series and I’m sure most people who didn’t know about the Eternals won’t mind most of these changes. However, this issue brings up a very big retcon that I will go into in the Spoilers section.
For now, the issue centers on two things: the big fight with Thanos and the chaos of Phastos’ actions. The pacing between the two storylines is balanced out as things develop alongside each other pretty well. You get to see action with the main Eternals fighting Thanos and see the breakdown of the Great Machine. While the fight with Thanos is going down, the Great Machine is failing and the end of the world starts.
Of course, things are resolved for one matter and not the other, and the comic finally focuses on Phastos’ motivation for orchestrating Thanos’ return and sabotaging the Great Machine. Once the big revelation for Phasots’ actions is shown, the comic tries to depict this bleak and dreary atmosphere for the Eternals, to make them feel terrible and yearn for something better, something heroic. But this conflicts with their general callous characterization established in previous issues and this new desire for “change” just feels forced here.
So, what’s the big reveal, what was it that caused Phastos to go down this path and become a villain? Simple: The Great Machine resurrects Eternals from the death of humans. This is shown when Ikaris sacrifices himself to stabilize the Great Machine and when he’s resurrected the comic reveals that the kid Toby Robson was used to bring him back.
This is one of the biggest retcons for the Eternals as a whole, and if you ask, no, it doesn’t align or match up with any of the previous Eternals’ series when it concerns their resurrection. It’s a huge retcon but I’m positive most people won’t really care too much about it and will just go along with it.
The only good thing that is likely to come out of all of this is the return of Thanos. See, he doesn’t die in this comic and it shows he’s putting his own scheme to liberate himself from Phastos’ control into action with Druig’s aid. But we don’t see the results of that here and will likely see this story unfold in the upcoming one-shot Eternals: Thanos Rises #1.
Eternals #6 concludes the story of the Eternals’ return and provides some explanation for why everything transpired as it did. The fighting with Thanos is cool, and Esad Ribić’s art and Matthew Wilson’s colors look good, too. However, the bigger issue is the huge retcon that Kieron Gillen introduces in this issue that impacts all of the Eternals, not just the main cast. But casual readers might not mind it as the series has made plenty of similar changes to the Eternals in past issues. So we’ll see if the changes actually matter.