(Panini Books)

NOW here’s something of a curiosity… Take a superhero riding high on a wave of publicity following his recent movie appearances, and then release a mini-series pitting him against one of the more obscure concepts created by comics guru Jack “King” Kirby, rather than a less continuity-heavy story which would be more accessible to anyone interested in the character after seeing him on the big screen.

The deformed Deviants, and their perfect counterparts the Eternals, were offshoots of humanity mutated at a genetic level by the star-spanning Celestials, in a sort of Chariots of the Gods-style series the King wrote and illustrated during the 1970s.

The idea was that these two races inspired the myths and legends of the Earth, both good and bad, as they occasionally interacted with normal humans across the centuries.

They have popped up now and then in the years since, most notably in a mini-series penned by the acclaimed author Neil Gaiman, which saw the amnesiac Eternals living as normal humans with no recollection of their mythic past or powers.

Links between the Eternals and Deviants and Thor’s Norse Gods have been established in past comics, and here we find the Thunder God tracking down a stolen artefact which could bring about the end of reality itself, but which the Deviants believe can re-spark their reproductive abilities after a plague left their males sterile…

Writer Rob Rodi has proved his talent in writing for Thor in the previous collection For Asgard, but here he seems bogged down in the stories of numerous past creators, rather than telling a tale of his own devising. The characterisation is either at odds with what we have seen from various protagonists in the past, or lacking in any substantial depth, and it is only the luxurious artwork of Stephen Segovia which really redeems this book from being a complete disappointment.

There are obviously decent stories to be told about the Eternals and the Deviants alike, it’s just unfortunate that this isn’t one of them.