The Eternals, they’re so hot right now. With a movie on the horizon and bold new comic by Kieron Gillen and Esad Ribic, it’s never been a better time to be fan of Marvel’s oddest pantheon. Recently, I sat down and read every Eternals comic I could get my hands on as well as as many of their guest appearances in titles like Thor, Avengers and even New Warriors. I don’t want to proclaim myself to be an Eternal expert, but I reckon I’m in the top 0.1% of people who have read a lot of comics featuring them, so I decided to take that knowledge and put it in a form everyone can understand… a listicle.
As a disclaimer, this isn’t every Eternal ever. There are characters mentioned only by name like Oceanus, artificial Eternals created by Mentor, half-Eternals like Joey Elliot and non-Earth based Eternals like the Skrull god Kly’bn. I’ve probably missed some out as well. I know Zarin missed the cut because I wanted a clean sixty, so I’ll hold my hands up to that. With that said, I present to you the top sixty Eternals ranked from worst to best.
Pannix is an ally of Druig who shows up during a crossover with the X-Men in 2009. She goes last just because she has a rubbish superhero name; it sounds like “panics” and while there are some great superheroes like Jessica Cruz who deal with very real and complex issues regarding panic disorders, this feels like naming a superhero “Fretz” or “Wurryz”.
Sigmar is an ally of Valkin’s who shows up in the original Kirby run and gets tortured by Druig. He’s only this low because his name is also a Warhammer thing and I don’t want Kieron to get any ideas.
A good chunk of the bottom of the list is just people who are parents, so we’ll be able to blast through them really quickly. Amaa is Ajak’s mother and she’s the worst of the parent class of Eternals because her name is so literal. I’m surprised his father isn’t called “Adad”
Mara is mother to Makarri and like Amaa has a name that kinda sounds like it could be a word for “mother” but it’s also just like, a regular person’s name and Eternals should be more interesting than that.
Daina is the mother of Zuras and again, that’s just a person’s name.
These are both followers of Uranos who don’t really do much. I’m basing a lot of these bottom entries on how much I like their names.
These are both followers of Druig’s from the late-2010s but they have slightly better names that Pannix, so they get slightly higher spots.
Aginar is one of the original Kirby characters and serves as an assistant to Valkin, but he doesn’t really have much else going on.
This is a big collection of family members. Tulayn is Ikaris’ mother; Helios is Sersi’s father; Rakar is Ajax’s father and Arex is Ajax’s brother. Arex gets to go highest because I appreciate the commitment to the theme when it came to naming their sons.
Atlo was a rival to Ikaris who only made one appearance but I think there’s potential based on it. I think he could be like the Hercules to Ikaris’ Thor.
I think Cybele has really great potential to be an interesting character; she’s Zuras’ wife and Thena’s mother but that’s all she’s ever been so far. As an Eternal, she’s one of the least interested in being an Eternal, even though she’s technically their queen. She’s low down because she hasn’t done anything but there’s a lot of potential there.
Kazantra is A’Lars’ partner after the death of Sui-San, which makes her Thanos’ stepmom. Don’t you think that’s just like, inherently interesting as a place in the Marvel universe; the person that chooses to become Thanos’ mother after his own biological mother killed herself out of guilt for what she inflicted on the universe. Again, a lot of potential, not much of it realised.
This section of the list is filled with people who did more than just stand in the background or serve as a lackey but still didn’t do that much. El-Ta was a Uranian Eternal who mentored Robert Grayson, the Earth hero known as Marvel Boy and later, The Uranian. I like The Uranian quite a bit but El-Ta is just kind of his Yoda.
Demeityr is a Titanian Eternal who stayed with Pamela Douglas while her cousin Heather aka Moondragon, recovered on Titan. Demeityr is very much a himbo, which we love to see but only really had the two appearances under his belt; I’d be happy to see more of him but I don’t think anyone is clamoring for it.
Legba is Druig’s right-hand man in the Knauf/Acuna run on Eternals in the late nineties and he ranks higher than his colleagues mainly based on style. He’s got like an all-black Egyptian style theme to his look that’s just very cool and shows how important a memorable design can be for a supporting character.
Titanis is an Eternal gladiator introduced in Contest of Champions and who later makes an appearance in New Warriors. Again, she’s not done much but she’s got a cool look and I’d like to know more.
These two are members of the Damocles Foundation which was an alliance between humans, Eternals and Deviants to improve the world but they just ended up torturing a bunch of mutants instead. They’ve got some pretty cool designs though.
Utnapishtim is basically Marvel’s version of Noah, which I think is pretty cool and gets him a higher rank on this list otherwise. I like when Eternal history intersects with ancient myth.
Arlok is one of the Uranian Eternals and he’d rank lower down the list, but his body was discovered by the Kree and his DNA was used to create the Inhumans, which is a pretty cool legacy to have in the Marvel Universe. I’d like to see that plotline explored more.
Astron is another Uranian Eternal, but he gets more points for being the founder of the colony on Uranus and for having the guts to stand up to the renegade Eternal.
This character is more of a continuity fix than a character. Roy Thomas did a story in 1975 where Robert Grayson came back, now calling himself The Crusader, and went mad. However, that was later retconned so it was actually a Uranian Eternal named Thelius who was like a back-up Marvel Boy in case anything ever happened to the original.
Apocryphus is a future Eternal, the last of the Eternals in fact and the son of Sersi. He shows up in the “Citizen Kang” event and later in Avengers Forever as a member of the Anachronauts, Kang’s handpicked commandos from across time. I think he has a cool name, like “apocryphal” so he gets ranked higher than he would otherwise.
32. Master Elo
Elo is another mentor character, although not the Eternal who is known as “Mentor” which is A’Lars, and we’ll get to him shortly. He serves as a guru for Makkari and helps the speedster Eternal focus his powers so that he could run even faster. I like those race issues of Quasar which is where he makes his one appearance, so he gets ranked near the middle.
I think with Virako we’re entering the part of the list featuring actual characters who do things but that might be too mean on those that came before. Virako is Ikaris’ father and he’s already dead at the start of Kirby’s run, having sacrificed himself to stop the World Devouring Worm. However, he’s resurrected in Thor: The Deviants Saga and I like his dynamic with Ikaris, but he still hasn’t done too much, so he doesn’t crack the top half of the list.
29. Suyin King
These four Eternals were introduced in New Eternals: Apocalypse Now #1 which sees the Eternals clash with the X-Men villain Apocalypse and it ends with them debuting for the public as a superhero team known as The New Breed. In this new configuration, they take more traditional superhero names, so Ikaris becomes “Sovereign”, Sersi becomes “Mesmer”, Thena becomes “Corona”, etc. I’m not against making up new Eternals but it seems like such a weird thing that these four characters get created, renamed and put into a new superhero team and then just never appear ever again.
These two are Thanos’ parents which makes them interesting just for that, but Mentor is a character I’ve always kind of hated whenever he shows up. He’s always so sure he’s right and telling people what to do; he’s like Charles Xavier without any of the heart of a classic interpretation or any of the brooding mystery of the Hickman era Xavier. Sui-San pips him by one point because I think it’s a really cool part of Thanos’ story that his mother took one look in his eyes and killed herself; that’s just good mythology right there.
Valkin is Virako’s brother, Ikaris’ uncle and in the original Kirby, he’s the leader of the Polarian Eternals and is probably the second most Kirbiest design among the Eternals, which is saying something. He’s a fairly big deal in the original run but he hasn’t done much since so I think this is a good spot for him.
23. Delphan Brothers
I guess this is a four-way tie. I kinda love the Delphan Brothers because they’re identical quadruplets who dress the same and just love to scrap. They’re Eternals as pure Id in many ways and you can just point them at something, wind them up and let them go. They’re idiots but they’re our idiots.
Domo is Zuras’ right-hand man and like the administrative assistant of the Eternals. Maybe he shouldn’t be this high up on the list because he doesn’t do much, but I like the idea of the beleaguered power behind the throne trying to keep the system running and I think we’re going to see good things from him in the new Eternals series.
Pixie was created to be a member of a team called the First Line, stars of Marvel: The Lost Generation; First Line were essentially the heroes who filled the gap between the Invaders and the Avengers but when most of the team died fighting Skrulls, Pixie returned to life among Eternals.
20. Betilakk the Interloper
When I was doing research for this article on any Eternals I wasn’t already aware of, The Interloper stood out to me as a really interesting character that I’d never heard of before. He’s kind of an ancient enemy of The Dragon of the Moon, the evil force which occasionally possesses Moondragon. He’s got a great look and as of Eternals (2021) #1 he has a full name — he used to just be “The Interloper” — so I’d be really interested in seeing him show up again.
19. The Eternal Brain
I really hope The Eternal Brain shows up as part of Eternals because it’s such a weird and great example of the way non-Eternal characters have been retconned into being Eternals. The character started out as a human scientist named William Carmody who figured out a way to keep the brain alive after the body died but he was retconned into being an Eternal as part of Marvel: The Lost Generation and joined First Line.
He was later recruited to ARMOR and fought the Marvel Zombies on a mission which he eventually perished in; I guess if he came back now, he’d just be like, a dude again, which isn’t very interesting. I’d love it if he got resurrected and then just immediately killed himself and put his brain back into a robot body.
Uranos was the first Eternal to decide the best way to protect Earth was to wipe out any sentient life that wasn’t Eternal. His brother Kronos disagreed, and the first Eternal war kicked off. This led to Uranos’ banishment into space along with his followers, where they set up the outpost on Uranus using scavenged Kree technology.
Uranos used the tech to mount a return to Earth, but on the way back they were all attacked and crash-landed on Titan where they were manipulated into civil war by The Dragon of the Moon and only Sui-San survived. For someone with such grand plans, Uranos was actually pretty shit at being a leader, but he had ambition and there’s potential to make him a future threat to the Eternals, so I think that earns a place in the top twenty.
I think this is where it starts to get a bit controversial because Zuras is like, one of the main Eternals and he’s probably lower than you thought he might be. It’s personal preference, but I just don’t care for him too much compared to everyone else on the list; I liked it when Eternal society moved past his leadership but I understand why he’s back in the big chair now.
I do like his relationship with Ikaris though because it feels like Kirby intentionally made them unrelated to not mirror the Odin/Thor dynamic and I think that makes them more interesting as a result; Zuras doesn’t have the sentimentality towards Ikaris that Odin has towards Thor and that skews their interactions in a different and unique way.
Kronos was the good guy on the other side of Uranos’ civil war and successfully fought on behalf of all non-Eternal sentient life on Earth, which is great! He also broke time and space, destroyed the capital city of the Eternals and became one with the universe as a result of his experiments, which isn’t great. Still though, you can’t say that’s not interesting!
The resident bard of the Eternals, Khoryphos is kind of like Jaskier to Ikaris’ Geralt which is a comparison I didn’t think of until my fingers hit the keys to type it out, but actually yeah, that’s not a bad comparison. Good job, me. That’s not what makes Khoryphos interesting though, it’s his romantic relationship with the Deviant artist Yrdisis that really makes Khoryphos stand out and their star-crossed love is a highlight of the mid-80s Eternals maxiseries.
I completely understand where Sprite is coming from; I cannot imagine how much it must suck to be eleven years old for a million years straight. Did they do the right thing by making all the Eternals forget who they were and forcing them into human identities in order to get away with making themselves mortal? Who I am to judge? I’m not a massive fan of the precocious kid archetype but there’s a tragedy to Sprite that Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr really seized upon and that’s what makes them such an interesting character.
Ah, Starfox. What can I say about Starfox that hasn’t been said already? Yeah, his powers are kinda skeezy but I think a lot of the criticism of him is aimed at ways his powers could be used rather than the way they are used. The position of Thanos’ older, handsome brother that everyone loves makes both of them way more interesting and Starfox’s moment in Avengers: Rage of Ultron is one of my favourite moments in a superhero comic. Seriously, the way Starfox saves the day against the Hank Pym/Ultron hybrid is so good and if you don’t know how he does it, you should read that OGN.
This might be the most controversial placement because Ikaris is like the Eternal. He’s the main character, essentially and I’ve put him outside the top ten. That’s like putting Superman outside the top ten of a list of Justice League members! I do like Ikaris but he’s very much a blunt object of a character without too much depth to him; he does have his moments, especially in the ‘80s maxiseries when he talks about the death of his son, Icarus of myth and when Margo Damian dies but often he’s as he’s described in Eternals (2021) #1. He’s an arrow; draw, aim and fire.
Just missing out on the top ten is the first daughter of the Eternals, Thena. Just like Ikaris, she’s a very straightforward character but she’s much more hot-headed than he is. She’s also often only ever considered in relation to characters around her; her father Zuras, her lover Kro, her children Donald, Deborah and Joey. I think she has the potential to be the Wolverine of the Eternals in all honesty, but she needs to break away and establish who she is on her own.
Kicking off the top ten is Ajak who I think has one of the coolest designs and definitely the Kirbiest design of the Eternals. Ajak was originally the messenger of the Eternals, privileged in his position as the only one to communicate with the Celestials but his role was taken away from him and given to Makkari in a way that left Ajak without a purpose.
His journey as part of the short-lived Knauf/Acuna Eternals is probably the most interesting of all of them as he reacts to being stripped of his role like an addict unable to get a fix and the ways he lashes out at the people that are supposed to be his friends ends up having a major impact on the fate of the world.
09. Kingo Sunen
Kingo’s such a weird character in the original Kirby because of all the Eternals apart from maybe Sersi, he loves human culture the most. He was a samurai in the sixteenth century and he loved it so much he just stayed in Japan for the next four hundred years and in the modern day became an actor who stars in Samurai movies. He’s also one of the only Eternals to stay behind when the rest of them form the Uni-Mind and leave Earth. The dude just loves Earth so much, he’s like the Eternals version of Noh-Varr.
Druig doesn’t emerge as a villain until the end of Kirby’s original run and he doesn’t really come back until the Gaiman/Romita Jr series, so there isn’t that much Druig to go around but essentially, he’s like Loki but without the pomp and circumstance. He’s a schemer and a manipulator and most importantly, a politician. Druig’s ideal situation would be one where you didn’t realise he was around pulling the strings and in a monarchy style hierarchy like the Eternals have, that makes him incredibly dangerous.
The highest profile Eternal after Ikaris and in the Marvel Universe probably a bigger deal because she was an Avenger, Sersi reminds me a lot of Scarlet Witch. They have a similar power set when you break it down to bare bones and they both suffered from male writers coming up with stories where they lose control of their emotions and are driven mad. Seriously, Sersi came down with an ancient Eternal illness called the Mahd Wy’ry. Sound it out in your mouth, if you don’t think it’s ridiculous to write off a female character with a mental illness called, essentially “The Mad Worry.”
Unlike the Scarlet Witch, Sersi hasn’t been as defined by these stories as she could have been but even in the Knauf series which I really enjoyed, she spends the whole thing worrying about Makkari and then sacrificing her life to resurrect Makkari. Sersi’s great, but she deserves better.
Hyperion is an Eternal, who knew? He’s an Eternal from Earth-712, the Squadron Supreme world and most other versions of Hyperion like King Hyperion from Exiles or Hyperion from Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers are also Eternals. They’re also the last Eternals of their timelines usually, but how he came to be the only surviving Eternal has never really been explored. I’m a big fan of the Hyperion concept and I’m a noted sucker for Superman expys, so that’s why he gets to go as high as he does. Interestingly, among the Excluded mentioned in Eternals (2021) #1 is an “Excluded H” so I do wonder…
We’re down to the top five and you might disagree with me on all of these, but I just dig Phastos’ deal. I like him as the smith of the Eternals and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves as the person who invented the resurrection chamber. Mutants need like six mutants, plus Sinister’s archive of mutant DNA and advanced Cerebro tech in order to bring people back to life and Phastos just knocked up a more efficient system in his shed to see if he could.
When I was getting into comics, I was really — and remain — really into speedsters, so I had to google who Marvel had on the speedster side outside of the obvious like Quicksilver and Makkari immediately came up as one of the first results. He’s the sort of character that I’m always happy to see when he turns up, especially in Quasar but I’ve always felt he could have a bigger role in the Marvel Universe in general.
He had to make the top three, didn’t he? He may be a bit overused these days but it still blows my mind that the name “Thanos” is as identifiable and recognisable as “Darth Vader” in pop culture. That feels like an achievement of some kind. I don’t even know what I can say about Thanos, do I need to justify why he gets this high? He’s Thanos, you might be a bit tired of him right now but you can’t deny he’s one of the best Eternals.
02. El Vampiro
He’s a luchadore vampire!
Gilgamesh is just a dude that does the right thing, despite what that means for his own well being and that is entirely my shit. He’s the guy who stays behind to shut the portal off from the other side or the guy that gives you his oxygen tank so you can make it back safely. He’s most well known as “The Forgotten One” but he has another nickname that’s less well-used but I think is more appropriate. He’s known as simply “Hero” and if you don’t think the dude who is literally the archetype for superheroes in the Marvel Universe isn’t going to be top of my list, you don’t know me very well.