Thor annual #7
Issue(s): Thor annual #7
The full explanation for the Eternals will come in a later Thor arc (culminating in issue #301) but this is their first appearance as definite Marvel universe characters.
The annual solves the "problem" of Ikaris calling Valkin both his father and uncle by revealing that Valkin is brother to Virako, Ikaris' biological father, and Valkin adopted Ikaris as his own after Virako sacrificed himself to defeat the World-Devouring Worm summoned by Dromedan.
The story is almost entirely flashback, with the framing sequence takeing place during Thor #275. Wondering how to save Balder, Thor talks to Mimir...
...who informs him of something from his past that has been blocked from his memory. Specifically, that he met the Eternals and learned about the Celestials. So really the issue serves to introduce Marvel readers to the Eternals and retroactively establish a history between them and a logical Marvel character.
In the flashback, Thor helps the Polar Eternals fight Tutinax and Dromedan.
And then Valkin wipes Thor's memory of the incident.
Walt Simonson's annual is pretty nice, but only hints at the eventual Simonson style.
Unfortunately there's not much of a story here.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This takes place during Thor #275 but since #272-278 all run together, i've placed this directly afterwards.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Virako returns some 34 years later, so probably should be tagged.
Posted by: AF | February 20, 2016 5:48 PM
Actually turns out he'll show up even sooner than that.
Posted by: AF | February 21, 2016 9:41 AM
Virako and the other Eternals and related characters in this story only appear in a flashback that took place "an Earthly millennium ago", which is why they aren't tagged.
(I did for some reason have Makkari, who doesn't even appear in the FB aside from a conceptual panel, tagged in this entry. I've removed him.)
Posted by: fnord12 | February 21, 2016 10:31 AM
As far as can tell, the eternals were always part of the marvel universe. In the original run of eternal comics they reference the thing. Going so far as to show the things face and mention that his name is ben grimm. Also shield agents show up and play a role in the events. I don't know where the idea came from that eternals weren't part of the marvel universe but they reference other characters that are traditionally part of the marvel universe multiple times.
Posted by: 4Dmike | September 30, 2016 6:36 AM
4Dmike, I think Kirby thought they were part of the Marvel universe all along, and readers did, but the Marvel editorial team hadn't made that decision before now.
BTW, fnord, you mention Simonson's "eventual" style, but the classic Simonson style has been on display since at least the first Manhunter story in Detectve Comics 437, five years earlier. I don't know if Simonson is trying to follow the "house style" (though as an artist, I hate that term), or if his unique lines are being lost under Chan's heavy inking, but Simonson's style was completely developed at this point.
Posted by: Andrew | September 30, 2016 10:20 AM
My understanding is that it's the other way around: editorial pushed for the MU references, but Kirby didn't really care or didn't see any of it as part of the Marvel Universe. Certainly the problems with the setup -- the Greek gods were really just the Eternals -- creates a significant problem for established characters like Zeus and Hercules. The MU elements amount to cameos an indirect appearances, with the exception of the SHIELD agents...but even there, none of the established SHIELD characters or associated gimmickry shows up.
So whatever the case, it does seem that Kirby didn't *care* too much about whether his creations did or didn't fit with the rest of the MU, including his own past work. For all the efforts to enmesh the Eternals cosmology fully with the MU, the only element that really gets used often is the Celestials, and that use had a lot more to do with the way later writers used them to explain *all* super-powers in the MU to than with Kirby's mythology of a secret war between two hidden human species and the imminent judgement of the Earth. Well, that and wedging Jim Starlin's "Titans" into place as Eternals-in-disguise.
Posted by: Omar Karindu | September 30, 2016 12:00 PM
According to Sean Howe, you are correct. I have got to reread that book...
Posted by: Andrew | September 30, 2016 4:36 PM
It's worth noting, though, that Roger Stern remembers things differently. He claimed that when the pages with SHIELD agents came in, the editors had an "Oh crap, this is taking place in the Marvel Universe after all" reaction- though he was writing decades later. It's also debatable whether or not Kirby intended Dr. Damian to be the same guy from FF 64.
Posted by: Michael | October 1, 2016 12:11 PM
Well cameo or not I was personally surprised to find the original run had multiple references to other heroes and elements traditional to the MU. All the reading I had done on the series while deciding if I was interested in reading it explicitly stated that it was completely separate until the Thor crossover. It could of course have been thought of as a separate universe that was similar to 616 but not exactly the same. God knows they've done that bit to death. But it does seem to create a bit of a absentee hero problem when the world is being threatened once again and none of the usual marvels show up to do anything about it. This isn't a back alley mugging. We're talking multiple giants that are taller than mountains showing up all around the world and also being broadcast to a worldwide audience. And shield reacts by sending three random dudes with guns and a bomb to sort it out. Plus the aforementioned problem of multiple sets of characters being inspired from the same Greek pantheon. I'm a huge nerd about ancient Greece and that jumped out at me immediately and still kinda bugs me. Not to mention that hurricane from the old golden age captain america comics was retconned via eternals into being makkari, attempting to do the old 'they've always been there trick'. I love those old hurricane stories. Basically an even more primitive version of early thor stories but with the added power of super speed like the flash. (Pls don't kill me for mentioning a DC character).
Posted by: 4Dmike | October 2, 2016 8:55 AM
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