Review: National Comics’ Eternity #1

Jeff Lemire brings us a spooky coroner whose story seems destined to become a major network TV show.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker


This is a #1 issue that seems to have slipped through the cracks of the last month, due to extensive traveling on my part, but I wanted to make sure to go back and spotlight it, as it's kind of a new endeavor for DC. They're reviving an imprint called National Comics, which was DC's former name, as a new home for self-contained story arcs of obscure characters. We've got Madame X, Rose & Thorn and Looker on deck, and if Eternity #1 is any indication, National just might be the place where comic creators try to pitch new stories ready-made for other media.

Jeff Lemire, renowned of late for his work on Animal Man, Frankenstein and Justice League Dark, continues in the spooky supernatural vein with the introduction of Christopher Freeman as "Kid Eternity," a young coroner whose special talent is recalling the spirits of the recently dead for 24 hours in order to try to solve their murders. That sounds like a perfect high-concept new metaphysical police procedural that would have a happy home on any of the major networks and, who knows? Maybe it will. It's certainly a cool idea.

Freeman got this power after being shortly dead himself, in the same gunfire that killed his father – or at least left the old man stranded in the in-between with the rest of the spirits of the recently dead. If this becomes an ongoing – which it certainly could, thanks to the surprise ending that could very easily be built upon – the fate of the elder Freeman could also become an issue. There's also the matter of the mysterious agent of the damned who essentially deems this new netherworldly realm Freeman's found himself in something akin to Fight Club, which you do not talk about. Plenty of room for weekly episodic television.

The actual story in this one-shot issue is clever, too, as the murdered older man he brings back to life, one Darby Quinn, slowly begins to reveal himself as a not-so-good human being, and Freeman quickly loses patience with him the more he learns about the circumstances surrounding his death. Despite looking like Scott Summers on the cover, Freeman himself is kind of a misanthropic version of Peter Parker, the bespectacled shy guy who is enamored of a dispatcher at the police department he doesn't have the courage to talk to. He's still engaging enough, with the weird circumstances surrounding his rebirth as a medium being quite the curiosity. The art from Cully Hammer is also pretty solid, and he's very good at drawing a wide variety of different body types and ages – something we can't take for granted due to how many comic artists seem to have difficulty deviating from the standard leading-man/woman figure.

I was a bit disappointed to notice the indication that this is only a one shot, as National Comics' Eternity is a series I'd probably check into for a few more issues, should they ever appear. Maybe it'll circle back again after the rest of the line-up gets their turn at bat.