I don’t know what it is, but of the half dozen or so comic book titles that really, truly impress me this year, a third of those deal with the dearly departed. First it was IDW’s Grim Leaper. Now it’s National Comics’ (via DC) Eternity; the story of a 27-year old medical examiner who has one extremely unique talent.
DC Comics is certainly proud of its monthly title Resurrection Man, where its star comes back to life with a new and different ability each time he dies. Borrowing slightly from that concept is the brand new Eternity. Christopher Freeman seems like your everyday dude in his 20′s, save for his uncommon career in a morgue. What really separates this guy from the pack is the fact that Chris is dead. Well, at least he was, until he came back. Oddly enough, nobody’s the wiser of his uncanny situation, which at times feels more like a predicament to him than it does a blessing.
Now unlike Resurrection Man, Chris Freeman has only taken the ”eternal” slumber once, but he returned with the ability to bring the deceased back for one full day. As you can imagine, this can come in quite handy in a New York City morgue where mysterious deaths abound amongst his silent customers. This story is not all that original though, branching off from its distant cousin title of Kid Eternity, yet it still comes across with a heaping dose of consistent entertainment from its first page to its last. Think of it as the defunct ABC series Pushing Daisies meets the Ghost Trick video game (and actually those two aren’t that disimilar in and of themselves) and throw in a hint of Groundhog Day while you’re at it. Just like the aforementioned show and game, it’s with a simple touch that Freeman brings the dead back to life to solve how they died so mysteriously or tragically in the first place.
Jeff Lemire (Animal Man) takes on the task of writing here while the dynamic duo of Cully Hamner (RED) and Derec Donovan (Green Arrow) contribute to the smooth yet graphic visual specs of Eternity. The trio meshes well for this post-mortem tale of answer-seeking, conflict and resolution. I’d love to give it a ’5′, but we have seen this story before in other mediums, so I can’t go all out. Nevertheless, Eternity is seamless and thought-provoking and gets its due at the end of the day. Oh, and one more thing before I lay this book to rest (sorry, couldn’t resist). It’s billed as a one-shot, but oh what a pity it would be for this story to die here…especially after that ending.