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Twofer: Neil Gaiman – Eternals / Brian K. Vaughan – Y: The Last Man, Vol. 6: Girl on Girl

July 7, 2010

73. Eternals by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by John Romita Jr. (2007)

Length: 256 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel; Superhero Science Fiction

Started / Finished: 23 June 2010

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? I was perusing the graphic novel section and saw the word Gaiman, and I was sold.

Summary: Mark Curry is just a regular emergency room doctor, until a patient comes in claiming to be a member of an powerful race of superbeings called the Eternals… and that Mark is one of them as well. At first, he dismisses the patient as crazy, but when Mark’s at a party that gets crashed by a bunch of gunmen, he realizes he does have superpowers… but then why and how was he hidden in a regular human life? And can they find enough other Eternals in time to prevent the destruction of the human race by the return of the powerful yet alien Celestials?

Review: I am not a comic book reader in the true sense of the term, and I am only passingly familiar with the Marvel Universe. However, that didn’t particularly hamper me when reading Neil Gaiman’s previous Marvel story, 1602, so I was hoping for something equally understandable and enjoyable here. Unfortunately, I didn’t get it. Eternals is a re-boot of a semi-forgotten cast of Marvel characters, and while just enough of what’s going on is explained that I wasn’t totally lost, it’s also done as an homage to Jack Kirby, the characters’ original creator, and without being familiar with his work or the original comics, I often felt like I was floundering. Also, while I like stories that play with the established superhero conventions in interesting new directions (Watchmen, or 1602 for example), I’m not a huge fan of typical straightforward superpowers-save-the-world stories, and that’s what Eternals felt like to me. 2 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: If you were/are a fan of classic Marvel comics, you’d probably enjoy Eternals, but if (like me) you have only come lately to the genre and don’t have the background knowledge, I’d give this one a miss, even though it’s got Gaiman’s name on the cover.

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First Line: “And then, thirty years ago, the Celestials came back to judge humanity as once they had judged the Deviants.”

74. Y: The Last Man, Vol. 6: Girl on Girl by Brian K. Vaughan, Pia Guerra, Goran Sudzuka, José Marzán Jr. (2005)
Y: The Last Man, Volume 6

Length: 128 pages
Genre: Graphic Novel, Science Fiction

Started / Finished: 24 June 2010

Where did it come from? The library.
Why do I have it? The series is good enough that I want to see how it ends.

Summary: Dr. Mann, Agent 355, and Yorrick are aboard a ship heading for Japan, in pursuit of Ampersand’s kidnappers. (Monkey-nappers?) However, Yorrick gets discovered by the captain, and that’s not their only problem; the ship has been found by a submarine full of potential pirates, and traitors on board mean that no one’s loyalties are above question. We also get a quick look at what’s happening to Beth in the Australian outback.

Review: Up to this point, this series’s been consistently pretty great; while I don’t think it’s going off the rails or anything, neither did I find this installment as good as what’s coming before. True to the rest of the series, there’s a lot of sneaking around, and a lot of people pointing guns and swords at each other, and a fair bit of sex… but in this case, not all of it makes sense with what we know about the world and characters thus far, and the disconnect is distracting. Typically, I’d give this story bonus points for being about pirates, but it turns out that my fascination with “boys on boats” is pretty specific to the Age of Sail, and “girls on submarines” doesn’t quite cut it. Still, while this installment wasn’t my favorite, the story as a whole is still incredibly interesting, and the artwork continues to well-drawn, interestingly laid-out, and gorgeously colored. (Also, it might just be my imagination and faulty memory, but I swear that they’re drawing Yorrick as more attractive as the series goes on.) 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Recommendation: Not the best of the bunch, but still an interesting read, and I’m sure that it’s important for what comes next.

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First Line: “Yorrick? Yorrick, where are you…?”

Vocab: (see the whole list)

  • p. 45: ““Sorry, Captain! Burst water hose knocked out one of our hedemoras!”” – a particular brand of diesel engine.
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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 7, 2010 6:30 am

    I am sad whenever my ignorance of comics stops me understanding references to them, especially when said references are made by Neil Gaiman. I feel like I am a bad geek if I do not know about comics, but it is hard to get such a late start. I don’t know where to begin!

    • July 12, 2010 9:40 am

      Jenny – That’s exactly my problem… there are so many series and re-boots and crossovers and whatnot that I’m never sure if I should start at the beginning, or the other beginning, or where.

      On the other hand, I have a friend who is a huge comic book geek, and knows the Marvel Universe really well, and I asked her about Eternals, and even she was like “Dude… no.”

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