Comics
Published July 13, 2022

Who Is Eternity?

Behold the Living Sentience of the Cosmos!

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A Strange encounter with Eternity in WAR OF THE REALMS: WAR SCROLLS (2019) #2.
WAR OF THE REALMS: WAR SCROLLS (2019) #2

There are four cornerstones of the Marvel Universe, influential in their own way. They are Death, Oblivion, Infinity, and today’s focus, Eternity. Designed by the legendary creator Steve Ditko, Eternity represents the passage of time, its beginning and end, and is arguably the most powerful of the cosmic entities. It manifests only when there is impending danger in the universe, such as a mad Titan finding all of the Infinity Gems. Eternity answers to no one but the Living Tribunal.

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But there is so much more to know about this living abstract. We have just the primer for you with these recommended Marvel Unlimited picks.

BIRTH

Mentioned in STRANGE TALES (1951) #134, Eternity made its first official appearance in STRANGE TALES (1951) #138. The cosmic entity was born when the previous universe died. (What happened to that universe?) Eternity is the personification of time and embodies all matter, from the largest galaxy to subatomic particles. It is everything (but not quite everywhere), all at once.

Eternity’s original appearance in STRANGE TALES (1951) #138 by artist Steve Ditko.
Eternity’s original appearance in STRANGE TALES (1951) #138 by artist Steve Ditko.

TWO PEAS IN A POD

Eternity also has a “sister” counterpart named Infinity, who represents space, and when they’re together, they encompass all of space and time. Both are recognizable to mortals, and yet simultaneously incomprehensible to them.

Eternity and Infinity in WARLOCK CHRONICLES (1993) #3,
WARLOCK CHRONICLES (1993) #3

ALL ETERNITY’S CHILDREN

Eternity has “children?” Actually, yes! Eternity spawned multiple independent entities: Enmity, Empathy, Expediency, Eulogy, Epiphany, Entropy, Explosion and Gravitation, and Now, and Then. Quite the legacy! There was an Eon, but they were killed and replaced with another living concept called Epoch.

A weird confrontation with Eon in CAPTAIN MARVEL (1968) #28!
A weird confrontation with Eon in CAPTAIN MARVEL (1968) #28!

POWERS

Eternity possesses immortality, cosmic awareness, and nigh omniscience, the ability to know almost everything. Additionally, it can warp reality, meaning unlimited manipulation of time, matter, magic, etc. Lastly, Eternity can manifest as anything that exists in its respective dimension. Eternity of Earth-616, for example, transformed into a human under the name Adam Qadmon to learn more about humanity.

Eternity's influence over humankind's evolution in DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #13.
DOCTOR STRANGE (1974) #13

NOT COMPLETELY INVINCIBLE

Although Eternity is immensely powerful, even it has weaknesses. When Thanos seized all six Infinity Gems, starting the INFINITY GAUNLET (1991) event, he managed to overpower and imprison the entity, along with other cosmic beings, in the fifth issue. Eternity was captured by frequent Doctor Strange foe Nightmare twice; the second time led to the destruction of Earth! Also, right before the events of SECRET WARS (2015), Eternity was fractured by the Beyonders in NEW AVENGERS (2013) #30. It faced the same fate as its alternate reality counterparts, thus ending the seventh iteration of Eternity and the Multiverse (Multiversal Eternity) as a whole.

The splitting of Eternity in NEW AVENGERS (2013) #30.
NEW AVENGERS (2013) #30

Post-SECRET WARS (2015), Eternity was revived and is in its eighth incarnation. And it’s a good thing too. A force of cosmic balance and a being that serves as a universal glue, Eternity carries the fate of the Marvel Universe in its all-knowing hands. All comics mentioned can be read on the Marvel Unlimited app!

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