Eternity is a cosmic comic entity that features in Marvel Comics.
Eternity was the male embodiment of all life in the universe. His origins were traced back to the first cosmos known as the First Firmament who created life. This life led to the creation of the Celestials who rebelled against their creator and unleashed unimaginable weapons that shattered it. Multiple Multiverses were created that later formed into the second cosmos with reality being reborn multiple times. This culminated in the creation of Eternity during the time of the seventh iteration of reality. (Ultimates 2 v2 #5) Eternity was said to had been created in response to the idea that the universe would end. Thus, he was formed to ensure a boundless universe whilst a Multi-Eternity was made to ensure a boundless Multiverse. (Fantastic Four Annual v1 #2001) He stood among four other abstract beings that made up existence with his compatriots including Infinity, Oblivion and Death. (Quasar v1 #25)
Eterntiy was the male embodiment of all life in the universe. His female counterpart is Infinity, and his sister is Mistress Death. Each universe in the Marvel multiverse is embodied by an Eternity; these infinite Eternitys are collectively known as the Multi-Eternity.
At some point, Eternity became involved with the abstract entity known as the Never Queen who embodied possibilities. He along with her had a love affair that took place outside both time and space. However, this unity was shattered by an attack from an individual called Incredulous Zed who used an unreal sword to cut out the Queen of Nevers heart which he used to power an artificial world he created called the Impericon. (Silver Surfer v7 #3) It was said that one day the Sorcerer Supreme known as the Ancient One once came upon Eternity. To him, Eternity had given the magical amulet and the power that was contained within it. (Strange Tales v1 #138)
Eternity only manifests in the presence of other cosmic beings, or to beings of sufficiently cosmic perception (such as sorcerers like Doctor Strange). Eternity has been challenged by some sorcerers, including the Ancient One, Dormammu, and Doctor Strange to duels of power in exchange for boons (or Eternity's might itself in Dormammu's case).
To save his master from Baron Mordo, Doctor Strange sought out Eternity and came upon him in his realm. The entity checked Strange's worth and determined him a worthy disciple of the Ancient One who now lay within Mordo's clutches. However, Eternity refused to impart further power on Strange and claimed that he had the ability within him to defeat his foe with him only needing wisdom that was the key to defeating his foe. Thus, he bade farewell to Doctor Strange who returned to the mortal world to free his master. (Strange Tales v1 #138)
Eternity, at one point, created numerous mortal aspects of himself to experience life from a non-omnipotent perspective. He later recalled these selves, but three discovered their nature and resisted the call. As a result, Eternity's essence was incomplete, and the universe began to break down. These three Eternity-fragments were found and convinced by the Defenders to return, so as to save the universe- and their loved ones- from destruction. (Defenders v1 #92)
During the Infinity Gauntlet crisis, Eternity personally took on the empowered Thanos- and lost. As a result, he became jealous of the combined power of the Infinity Gems, and was the cosmic being who successfully petitioned the Living Tribunal to prevent their use in conjunction after the Infinity Gauntlet events. Eternity- after awakening from a coma imposed by the Magus- briefly permitted the order to be rescinded during the Infinity War. It was quickly re-established once the crisis was ended, however.
The Oditopians conducted experiments in quantum destabilization that irritated the substance of Eternity himself. As a result, he sent the Contrasepsis to eliminate the threat but the Oditopians evolved into a strain that was immune to the defensive antibodies. This gradually caused Eternity himself to slowly die as the Contrasepsis were unable to remove the threat. (Fantastic Four v1 #550)
Personality and attributes
In appearance, Eternity during his interactions with mortals took on a form resembling man. (Strange Tales v1 #138)
As he encompassed the totality of existence, Eternity often felt that he was unutterably alone. This caused him to experience moments where he craved experience. It was this reason why he created mortal aspects of himself that he dispatched into the Multiverse and re-absorb them to gain their experiences. (Defenders v1 #92)
It was claimed that none sought Eternity unless they desired power and he at times granted to those that he deemed were worthy of it. (Strange Tales v1 #138)
Powers and abilities
Within Eternity, the universe existed as both a place of chaos and order with a balance made to maintain the two. (Fantastic Four Annual v1 #2001) It was said that he contained power beyond measure and one that was far beyond human ken. (Strange Tales v1 #138) He could create mortal forms of himself that were infused with a portion of his infinite consciousness. These could experience the mortal world and he could re-absorb these aspects with him being able to feel their experiences. However, if pieces of these forms did not merge back with him then it could create instabilities in the cosmos itself. (Defenders v1 #92)
The cosmic forces of Explosion, Gravitation and Entropy were three entities that were children of Eternity. (Starbrand & Nightmask v1 #3) Other Children of Eternity included the boy called Then and the girl called Now who tended to the House of Ideas. (Loki v3 #3)
A force present for Eternity were the Contrasepsis that served an honourable purpose in protecting the physical universe from harm. These humanoid purple skinned beings were individually weak but their strength lay in their great numbers. The entities were utterly mindless and simply protected the universe with them sent in the direction of threats. (Fantastic Four v1 #550)
He was known to provide a cosmic artefact linked to him that was the Orb which was a large sphere whereby those that proved loyal to him were able to use it and get some measure of aid from Eternity. (Warlock and the Infinity Watch v1 #15)
- Eternity was created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko where he made his first appearance in Strange Tales v1 #138 (November, 1965).
In other media
- In Silver Surfer, Eternity made regular appearances in the animated series where he was voiced by actor John Neville.
- Strange Tales v1:
- Defenders v1:
- Warlock and the Infinity Watch:
- New Avengers:
- Silver Surfer:
- Starbrand and Nightmask v1: