Top positive review
Why They Called Jack Kirby "King" (Review #464)
Reviewed in the United States on January 17, 2021
Although for the longest time I didn't know all that much about these characters, the Eternals have always seemed interesting to me. They exist as this mysterious, hidden corner of the Marvel Universe that most fans have overlooked through the years. This omnibus comes at the perfect time as the property is set be brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe coming soon. The book collects (most of) their key appearances from the beginning up until the late nineties. It all starts with the first series created by the legendary Jack Kirby, one of the few solo projects he did at Marvel Comics. His bold vision was of a world much like our own populated in secret by both godlike beings and unstable monsters who were to have inspired the myths of every society on Earth since the beginning, both races created by towering alien Celestials who visited the world millennia ago. Those being the inherently good Eternals and their forever enemies the Deviants, and humanity caught in the middle. I am truly impressed by Kirby's work having now read the series. His storytelling approach is slow-paced and methodical and a unique reading experience even when compared to modern comics. Originally the series and its whole world were meant to be separate from the main Marvel Universe and even though it would drop references here and there it's still fairly obvious that was to be the case but that would later be undone. Unfortunately, the original series would end before it could complete its story and it would instead be finished without Kirby in the pages of Thor starting before, and going through, milestone issue #300. That arc, which was not included in this book for some reason, would be integral in cementing the title into the greater Marvel Continuity. Of what is included the next most notable is Peter B. Gillis's and later Walter Simonson's Limited Series which turned a lot of the original ideas on their head in a very engaging way. Besides that there are some key issues of the Avengers, an Iron Man Annual, some backup material from the What If? series, and a couple obscure one-shots to round out the collection plus a ton of extra behind the scenes content including introductory pages from this and a previous omnibus as well as sketches, character pages, and some vintage ads. The art in the book is really something to admire too. I've always found Kirby's work to be vast and creative and the other most relevant to the omnibus is by Sal Buscema, who is a Marvel legend himself. This is a fantastic collection, one I would compare to the Squadron Supreme Classic Omnibus I got awhile back which is only slightly better for it's brief explanatory pages that fill in gaps between the appearances not collected in it but that's a small complaint. To break it down to one sentence, there's a reason they called Jack Kirby "King".