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Eternity as featured in JLA/Avengers #1 (Sep. 2003).
Art by George Perez.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Strange Tales #138 (Nov. 1965)
Created by Stan Lee
Steve Ditko
In-story information
Abilities Omnipresence

Eternity is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. Created by scripter-editor Stan Lee and artist-plotter Steve Ditko, the character is first mentioned in Strange Tales #134 (July 1965) and first appears in Strange Tales #138 (Nov. 1965).

Debuting in the Silver Age of Comic Books, the character has appeared in four decades of Marvel continuity and appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series; trading cards and video games.


Publication history

Eternity debuted in an epic 15-issue storyline in Strange Tales #130-146 (March 1965 - July 1966), aiding mystic hero Doctor Strange against the villain Dormammu. Following the publication's retitling as Doctor Strange, the character returned in issues #180-182 (May-July 1969), and thereafter continued to appear in stories that were cosmic in scope. Significant appearances included Doctor Strange vol. 2, #10-13 (Oct. 1974 - April 1975) and Defenders #92 (Feb. 1981).

A storyline by writer-artist John Byrne in Fantastic Four #262 (Jan. 1984) attracted controversy. At the conclusion of the story Eternity validated the existence of another cosmic character, Galactus. Howard University Professor of Literature Marc Singer stated Byrne used the character Eternity as a means to "justify planetary-scale genocide."[1]

Eternity guest starred in Secret Wars II #6-7 (Dec. 1984 - Jan. 1985); Silver Surfer vol. 3, #6 & 10 (Dec. 1987, April 1988) and with Marvel's cosmic hierarchy in the limited series Infinity Gauntlet #1-6 (July-Dec. 1991), and in its sequel, Infinity War #1-6 (June-Nov. 1992). The character played a pivotal role in limited series Avengers Infinity #1-4 (Sept.-Dec. 2000). Major revelations about the character appeared in a storyline in Quasar #19-25 (Feb.-Aug. 1991). Other appearances, again in storylines that featured a cosmic theme, included Infinity Abyss #1-6 (Aug.-Oct. 2002); and Defenders vol. 3, #1-5 (Sept. 2005 - Jan. 2006).

Eternity has also appeared in the alternate universe titles What If? #32 (April 1982); Marvel: The End #1-6 (May 2003 - Aug. 2003); and JLA/Avengers #1-4 (Sept. 2003 - May 2004).


The entity is aided by superhero team the Defenders, who locate three missing fragments of its being and convincing them to rejoin with Eternity.[2]

Eternity is also summoned to the trial of Fantastic Four member Mister Fantastic, who is accused of saving the life of fellow cosmic entity Galactus. Eternity allows all present to momentarily possess "cosmic awareness", thereby allowing them to understand that Galactus is a vital part of the universe, despite the continued loss of entire species.[3]

The character appears with the entire cosmic hierarchy (eventually revealed to be "retconned" into an avatar of the entity[4]) during an encounter with the entity the Beyonder;[5] consults with fellow entity Galactus when the Elders of the Universe plan to destroy the latter (to initiate a new Big Bang and restart the universe).[6]

Together with the cosmic hierarchy Eternity opposes the Eternal Thanos when the villain wields the Infinity Gauntlet, although they are all eventually defeated.[7] Once Thanos is eventually dispatched (courtesy of his own carelessness), Eternity unsuccessfully advises fellow cosmic entity the Living Tribunal against allowing the Infinity Gems to be used in conjunction.[8] Eternity develops animosity towards the artifical being Adam Warlock, who the entity encounters on several occasions.[9]

During a series of extended battles between cosmic hero Quasar and the villain Maelstrom (the avatar of the entity Oblivion, Eternity is revealed to have a "twin" entity - Infinity, with the pair representing the space-time continuum and the living force of the universe.[10] Eternity also "spawned" several "children", or concepts that became separate, independent entities: Empathy; Eulogy; Expediency; Entropy; Epiphany; Enmity and Eon (Eon is eventually killed and replaced in turn by the concept Epoch[11]).

Eternity is imprisoned by the Magus (the evil alter ego of Adam Warlock) who attempts to reunite the Infinity Gems for his own use. The villain is eventually defeated when Eternity merges with Infinity and together they strip the Magus of his newfound power.[12]

Eternity is also summoned by a contingent of superhero team the Avengers to reason with the cosmic entities the Infinites,[13] and observes the attempts of Thanos and several of Earth's heroes to defeat several of his clones, who are dedicated to destroying the universe, and in turn Eternity itself.[14]

Eternity is one of the last beings (together with the Living Tribunal and Infinity) to be overcome by Thanos when he uses the artifact the Heart of the Universe to undo the universe and then remake it minus a fatal flaw.[15] The character is effected by the machinations of the villain Krona when engineers a merging of the Marvel Universe and the DC Universe,[16] and is threatened when Dormammu unsuccessfully attempts to invade the Earth-616 universe and remake it in his image.[17]

In the "Dark Reign" storyline, Eternity grants Henry Pym the title of Scientist Supreme, a scientific counterpart to the mystical title Sorcerer Supreme.[18]

Powers and abilities

Eternity is an abstract entity, but can warp surrounding space and matter into a manifestation that can be perceived by lesser beings. The character can also manipulate the universe to achieve virtually any effect desired, and exists everywhere simultaneously. Eternity can also form avatars from another plane of existence known as the Dimension of Manifestations.[19]

Other media

Eternity makes a cameo appearance in an episode of the television series X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) and appears semi-regularly in the also animated Silver Surfer series (1994), voiced by John Neville.[20]


  1. ^ "Byrne's Fantastic Four"
  2. ^ Defenders #92 (Feb. 1981)
  3. ^ Fantastic Four #262 (Jan. 1984)
  4. ^ Quasar #37 (Aug. 1992)
  5. ^ Secret Wars II #6-7 (Dec.-Jan. 1985)
  6. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #6 (Dec. 1987) & #10 (Apr. 1988)
  7. ^ Infinity Gauntlet #1 - 6 (July - Dec. 1991)
  8. ^ Warlock and the Infinity Watch #1 (Feb. 1992)
  9. ^ Warlock and the Infinity Watch #9 (Oct. 1992); #11 (Dec. 1992); #14 - 15 (March-April 1993); #19 - 20 (Aug.-Sept. 1993)
  10. ^ Quasar #19 - 25 (Feb. - Aug. 1991)
  11. ^ Quasar #38 (Sep. 1992)
  12. ^ Infinity War #1-6 (June-Nov. 1992)
  13. ^ Avengers Infinity #1 - 4 (Sep. - Dec. 2000)
  14. ^ Infinity Abyss #1 - 2 (Aug. 2002); #3 - 4 (Sep. 2002); #5 - 6 (Oct. 2002)
  15. ^ Marvel: The End #1-2 (May 2003); #3-4 (June 2003) & #5 (July 2003) & #6 (Aug. 2003)
  16. ^ JLA/Avengers #1 (Sept. 2003) & 3 (Dec. 2003); Avengers/JLA #2 (Oct. 2003) & 4 (May 2004)
  17. ^ Defenders vol. 3, #1-5 (Sep. 2005 - Jan. 2006)
  18. ^ Mighty Avengers #30 (Dec. 2009)
  19. ^ Quasar #37 (Aug. 1992)
  20. ^ Silver Surfer at

External links

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