(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
[[wysiwyg_imageupload:997:]]Only the Living Tribunal keeps Eternity from being the most fascinating concept being ever introduced in the Marvel Universe. Curiously, both came to light not in Thor or Fantastic Four but in the mystic wing of Marvel Cosmic in the pages of Doc Strange tales.
Dr. Strange seeks out Eternity when his master, the Ancient One, is attacked by former pupil Baron Mordo. After a series of battles with Mordo and his minions, and discovering that arch-foe Dormammu is secretly backing Mordo, Strange finds and speaks with Eternity. The entity advises Strange that he is capable of defeating his foes without aid, and Strange wins a duel with Dormammu (who is ultimately defeated by Eternity) and thwarts an attempt at sabotage in his Sanctum Sanctorum.
On New Year’s Eve, Eternity is kidnapped by Nightmare, who after causing time distortions that allow beings such as dinosaurs and barbarians to appear in New York Cityappears before Strange and his lover Clea. Nightmare challenges the mystic to attempt to rescue Eternity, and after accepting, Strange enters Nightmare's Dream World. After an extended series of battles and a temporary defeat, Strange successfully recruits X-Men foe Juggernaut to stop Nightmare from merging his realm with Earth, and together they free Eternity. The entity then banishes Nightmare and the Juggernaut and restores reality.
The entity is aided by the Defenders, who locate three missing fragments of its being and convincing them to rejoin with Eternity.
Eternity is also summoned to the trial of Reed Richards, who is accused of saving the life of Galactus. Eternity allows all present to momentarily possess “cosmic awareness,” thereby allowing them to understand that Galactus is a vital part of the universe, despite the continued extinction of entire species.
During a series of extended battles between Quasar and Maelstrom (avatar of Oblivion), Eternity is revealed to have a "twin" entity, Infinity, with the pair representing the space-time continuum and the living force of the universe.
Together with the cosmic hierarchy, Eternity opposes Thanos when the villain wields the Infinity Gauntlet, although they are all eventually defeated. Once Thanos is eventually dispatched (courtesy of his own carelessness), Eternity unsuccessfully advises fellow cosmic entity the Living Tribunal against allowing the Infinity Gems to be used in conjunction. Eternity develops animosity towards Adam Warlock, who the entity encounters on several occasions.
Eternity also "spawned" several "children," or concepts that became separate, independent entities: Empathy, Eulogy, Expediency, Entropy, Epiphany, Enmity and Eon. Eon is eventually killed and replaced in turn by the concept Epoch.
Eternity is imprisoned by the Magus (the evil alter ego of Adam Warlock) who attempts to reunite the Infinity Gems for his own use. The villain is eventually defeated when Eternity merges with Infinity and together they strip the Magus of his newfound power.
Eternity is summoned by a contingent of Avengers to reason with the cosmic entities the Infinites, and observes the attempts of Thanos and several of Earth's heroes to defeat several of his clones who are dedicated to destroying the universe, and in turn Eternity itself.
Eternity is one of the last beings (together with the Living Tribunal and Infinity) to be overcome by Thanos when he uses the artifact the Heart of the Universe to undo the universe and then remake it minus a fatal flaw.
The entity's power is stolen by Dormammu and his sister Umar to remake the universe in their image. The pair are opposed by a reuniting of three of the original Defenders (Strange; the Hulk and Namor). With Umar betraying Dormammu and then being defeated in turn, the power returns to Eternity and reality is restored.
Finally, in the Dark Reign storyline, Eternity grants Hank Pym the title of “Scientist Supreme,” a scientific counterpart to the mystical title “Sorcerer Supreme.” Whether Hank really met with Eternity or if it was a machination by Loki, Asgardian god of mischief, is unknown.
As long as the stars twinkle at night and we are free of Many-Angled Ones, the universe – and Eternity – should be fine!