Eternal #4 Who is Left?

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Eternal #4 CoverIt’s Eternal #4, the final issue of the arc, and, as expected, things have ended on a particularly stupid note. Hey – remember how, up until now, the HLA has been doing things like bombing a New Life facility and conducting a raid on a Pure enclave? Well, forget all that, because it turns out that they’re actually super-awesome hackers. Never mind that this has in no way been set up or hinted at. The plot is completely off the rails by now, so buckle up!

The issue opens with Gail and the rest of the HLA busting in to Rathmann’s safe house, where he’s hiding out with Violet. I have no idea why they’re attacking them, considering they need his help, but it’s probably asking too much for this comic to start making sense. Gail threatens to kill Violet unless Rathmann helps them. This might seem completely out of character, until you remember that her character is “always pissed off and yelling at everyone,” so really it’s okay.

And what do they need Rathmann for? Why, to break in to a New Life cloud storage facility, of course. How, you may ask, since you are presumably a reasonably intelligent person who remembers that Rathmann is currently a fugitive on the run who has had his security clearance revoked? Yeah, this is the part where you realize that the story is just desperately looking for any excuse to keep Rathmann relevant, even though he’s far outlived his usefulness. Rathmann has an RFID chip in his arm that used to grant him clearance to wherever, back when he still worked for New Life. The HLA infects the chip with malware to fool the detectors and get them in. Which begs the question: Why do they need Rathmann at all? Am I actually supposed to believe that it’s harder to make an RFID chip than it is to make a program to fool the computers? For that matter, let’s assume that they absolutely needed the chip, and that there’s no way to fake it (which I don’t believe). Why couldn’t they just kidnap literally any other random employee of New Life to do this? With Rathmann, they first had to go to the trouble of finding him (how they accomplished this before the far-better equipped New Life enforcers is never touched on), then they had to write a program to fool the computer into accepting his revoked-clearance RFID chip.

The cloud storage facility is one of the places where everybody’s consciousness data is kept in case they need to be cloned. Their plan is to infect the facility with a virus to destroy that data. The virus will then spread to every other facility, and boom, no more cloning. I guess. Until New Life is inevitably able to sort things out.

What I want to know is this: Has the HLA had this computer virus the whole time, but never used it because they could figure out how to write a complicated piece of software, but not how to break into a building? (This, by the way, is a building that only uses automated systems – there is no on-site security, despite its importance.) Or did the HLA simply whip up this virus overnight, when they suddenly decided to change tactics?

Breaking in to the facility is about as dramatic as walking into a building that offers no resistance can be. The virus is released, there’s lots of pointless shooting, and by the end, Violet is the only main character left alive. Which, I guess, makes her the lucky winner of “Who’s the Protagonist, Anyway?” There’s also widespread panic and violence in the streets as people realize that they’re mortal again, because why not?

Avoid this comic. The characters are one dimensional, the plot and world haven’t been fleshed out at all, and the artwork after the first issue is terrible. The only thing Eternal is good for is a cautionary tale – not of the foolishness of seeking immortality, but of the perils of not thinking through your story.

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