At the end of the proceeding issue, we see our characters at a crossroads. They are all at a compound where Pures, the life source of cloning, are being corralled. Gail and her organization, the HLA, are attempting a rescue mission, while New Life and its operatives, amongst them Peter Rathmann, plan to shut them down. Within the compound, we are following a pure named Violet, desperately trying to save her pure counterparts and survive. The outcome of this showdown leaves Gail with a possible ally in Rathmann, if New Life does not get to him first.
Harms has made a bold choice in delivering such a heavy book before the conclusion of his story. In an issue that might explain a lot while delivering much, there is a lot of air between the characters’ respective revelations. This book skews toward the story of Peter Rathmann, almost solidifying a shared foreboding he has with the reader on the true nature and deception New Life.
When the rose-colored glasses are pulled of, it’s a lot to adjust to the new world laid out before you. Perhaps this is why the action is so muted. There is a lot of blood spilled in this book, particularly that of the innocent, and artist Simeone addresses the graphic with a sense of elegance. In a book where everyone is set to live forever, death is now a right of passage. All those killed (or ‘killed’ when it comes to the clones) are drawn with a sense of sacrifice. It is as if both Harms and Simeone are implying death does not take its toll but is the toll itself.
Throughout this series, I’ve consistently said this book is about consequence, and Eternal #3 brings this theme full circle. Harms presents a seemingly utopian society that parallels our reality with questions that come down to a shared need of truth. It’s a welcomed pause, but my worry is in offering this moment at this point in the story’s timeline, that the conclusion may not deliver on wrapping up all loose ends. The progression of the story was solid but stayed in a consistent low gear. I was waiting to hear a rallying call to arms and, instead, am left with uncertainty. There is no clear-cut conclusion, or a conclusion of any sort, laid out in the final page of Eternal #3, something I have come to expect. But, maybe that is where Harms’ true mastery lies. After all, in our lives, how many outcomes are truly guaranteed? When has every choice we made not had shades of grey?