Writer: Kieron Gillen
Artist: Ryan Bodenheim & Edgar Salazar
Color Artist: Chris O’Halloran
Cover Artist: Andrea Sorrentino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Thanos is Prime Eternal, ruler of the Eternals! But even though he reigns, there are still things on his agenda. But there are still secrets of the Eternals that the Mad Titan doesn’t know about. But Uranos – his grand-uncle – knows these secrets, as Eteransl: The Heretic #1 brings about this dark family reunion.
So, this comic is a disappointment but not for the reasons some people might think. I’ve been very critical of this new Eternals relaunch, mostly because it’s a reboot of the Eternals, their mythos, characters, histories, everything. As such, most people won’t care about the changes, but that doesn’t mean the series still can’t tell a good story with what’s already there. This comic is fine, but it’s not fun either.
I’ll start with the good things then move on to the flaws. First, the comic actually tells a solid story with a beginning, middle, and ending. The comic has a simple introduction that wastes no time to get right to the hook – Thanos meeting Uranos and hearing his backstory. It’s a cold family reunion as expected between a meeting of two ruthless supervillains with genocide in their resume.
Uranos’ story itself fits within the current status quo of the Eternals being set up by Kieron Gillen in the main series. It actually presents an idea for a solid Eternals supervillain besides Thanos that is intriguing on its own, with or without Uranos. The visualization of the Eternals’ civilization and their technology in the comic by Ryan Bodenheim’s art is pretty cool and colorful compared to the more dismal way it’s show in the main series. On top of that, there’s some payoff for Thanos that was referenced in Eternals #10, and hopefully Gillen will use it in some capacity in the main series. Now, on to the bad. First off, Uranos looks like a buff Mr. Freeze rip-off.
I’m sorry, I know Kieron Gillen is rebooting the Eternals in his own way. Even needlessly gender-swapping Ajak and Makkari to be like their female movie counterparts with no in-universe explanation. But someone should’ve told him and the artists that this take on Uranos looks like a buffed-up version of Mr. Freeze. Bald, crusty light-blue skin, red eyes, cold emotionless personality, wears a cybernetic suit regulating his body, and he has ice-like superpowers.
It doesn’t help that he’s not an engaging character on his own. It’s like Gillen is trying to out-Thanos Thanos with Uranos. He’s cold-hearted, calculating, ruthless, unyielding, and genocidal in his plans for the Eternals. However, he’s generic as far as genocidal villains go in Marvel comics, and that’s it. He reminds me of the new Inhuman villain made back around 2013 – 2014 called “The Unspoken”. He was supposed to be this big new villain, an ancient inhuman king they locked away because he was so evil & dangerous, building him up as the biggest bad they ever faced. He didn’t really catch on with readers and was turned into Maximus the Mad’s humorous lackey by the end. However, I have the sneaking suspicion that Marvel’s saving Uranos for the upcoming Judgement event this summer, but who knows if we will ever see Uranos again.
Another issue is that the comic does more telling instead of showing when it comes to the Eternals’ technology. The comic talks a lot about the Great Machine’s arsenal and advanced weaponry in Uranos’ command, but it never shows any of it. That “weapon” he uses in the comic might as well be a big glowing death ball in the sky. If we’re lucky, Gillen will have Thanos use these weapons in some form in the main series now that he’s Prime Eternal.
Gillen does retcon the original depiction of Uranos as being a clone in a throwaway line by Druig and that’s that instead of forcing together some convoluted story from how he went from his more human-looking self to how he is now. I’ll at least give him credit for addressing the obvious elephant in the room concerning Urano’s appearance.
Eternals: The Heretic #1 tries very hard to sell Uranos as a villain worse than Thanos but comes up short. From his design to his personality and power set, Uranos doesn’t really stand out that much as a memorable character. However, Uranos’ backstory and contribution to the main series do fit within Kieron Gillen’s worldbuilding for the Eternals. Also, the art by Ryan Bodenheim does a fine job depicting Uranos and the ancient Eternal civilization.