In a future world, a company called New Life is king. They have developed a technology to clone people and transfer their memories, thereby allowing people to live forever. Seems like the ultimate win, right? But, people are getting bored of their immortality, going as far as purposefully dying with the knowledge of inherent resurrection. This view into the ultimate end goal introduces readers to an indifferent utopia, void of the satisfaction in finding everlasting life.
This first issue follows a woman named Gail Jensen, who appears to be guarding a safe house. Only then do we realize New Life does not apply to everyone. There are rare humans known as “pure” who have never been cloned and can die forever, though how remains a mystery. These precious few are hunted by New Life, and it’s up to Gail and her organization, the HLA, to make sure they don’t fall prisoner. Gail fails at her objective, and the reader is then introduced to characters set to shape the rest of the series’ story.
My familiarity with Harms' works comes from the Infamous video game. I loved the duality of the protagonist and the Marvel-esque story of an unassuming human given awesome power. That sense of responsibility is amplified in Eternal. From the civilians knowing they can live forever, to the “pure” who have moments to cherish, to those trying to destroy or protect, life becomes currency. The story does have a few jumps that took me re-reading a few panels, but overall the action was easy to follow. And, there is action, tons of it.
Giovanni Valleta’s art captures the esoteric nature of what should be the prosperous success. Thick lines and detail offer a harsh tone to the book that helps deliver action sequences with a heightened level of tension. Where this book excels is the page layout, offering narrative that jump cuts often but allows for the reader’s brain to want to work overtime and pick up the bread crumbs dropped.
Harms and Valleta have created a book whose tale might be as old as time, but whose first issue leaves you wanting more. With palatable action for all, there is a deeper level of reflection that might be a bit much for younger readers. If the final page artwork doesn’t grab you, the story will. Upon closing this book, I couldn’t help but reflect on our present and the painstaking efforts we go through to stay just the way we are. But, the thought of immortality becoming enslavement was never something that crossed my mind. Now, it sounds like it’ll make for a great series.