Eternals #1 (1976)
Olympia, Greece; Titan, moon of Saturn; formerly an outpost on the planet Uranus
The Eternals were created over a million years ago by the enigmatic Celestials, who arrived on Earth to perform genetic experiments on the nascent human race. For purposes unknown, they hoped to test the adaptability of the human gene, accelerating the evolution of a handful of subjects and gave them the genetic potential to mentally manipulate limited quantities of cosmic energy. Thus was born the race of Eternals. In a similar way, the Celestials also performed experiments that led to the creation of the Deviants, and they also implanted latent genetic material in other specimens that would one day permit benevolent mutations in human beings.
At first the Eternals' genetic potential for extraordinarily long lifespans and virtual invulnerability lay dormant. A devastating civil war eventually broke out among the first known generation of Eternals. The two opposing factions, one led by Kronos (also “Chronos”) and one by his brother Uranos, clashed in a conflict of ideologies over their people's destiny. Kronos's side prevailed, and the warlike Uranos and his surviving band of followers were exiled into outer space. These exiles found a supply depot left by the alien Kree on the planet now known as Uranus, and used it to construct a spaceship in which they attempted to return to Earth and renew their war with their brethren. Four Eternals, however, stayed on Uranus and gave rise to a small colony of Uranian Eternals (one which was finally discovered in the 1950’s by Marvel Boy and his father). The rest of Uranos's followers were attacked by a Kree armada before reaching Earth. The survivors among Uranos's band built a civilization on Saturn's moon Titan, giving rise to its own colony of Eternals. One of Uranos's followers, Aflok, was taken by the Kree for vivisection. Learning that the being had derived from Earth, the Kree determined to perform genetic experiments on Earth's pre-humans themselves. Their experiments would result in the Inhumans.
Kronos was working in his laboratory in the Earth Eternals' city of Titanos on an experiment with cosmic energy when he accidentally caused an explosion that demolished Titanos and subjected the Eternals to a cosmic particle bombardment. This irradiation activated the latent genes in the Eternals that gave them their long lifespans and virtual invulnerability. Kronos's atoms were scattered, but his astral form still survives on this plane of reality, quietly observing life in the universe and once encountered by Maelstrom who was seeking ways to become a cosmic entity.
After Kronos's physical death, his eldest sons, Zuras and Alars, initiated the first creation of the Uni-Mind, a collective melding of the minds and bodies of the Eternals. While in the form of the Uni-Mind, the Eternals determined that Zuras should be Kronos's successor as their leader. To avoid disunity among the Eternals, Alars, who differed with Zuras as to what the Eternals' goals should be, left for outer space. Eventually, Alars arrived on Titan, where he met with Sui-San, the last survivor of a civil war among the Eternals there. Together Alars and Sui-San repopulated Titan. However, since Sui-San was not affected by Kronos' cosmic energy bombardment, their children were not as powerful or long-lived as the Eternals of Earth. Alars renamed himself Mentor, and the race of Titanian Eternals, although recently greatly reduced in number, still exists today.
Zuras directed the construction of the principal city of the Eternals, Olympia, in a mountainous region in Greece. Two other major Eternal cities were founded: Polaria in Siberia and Oceana in the Pacific. Olympia lay near the principal nexus between Earth's dimension and that of the Olympian gods on Mount Olympus. Zuras and Zeus, leader of the Olympian gods, made a mutual non-interference pact between their two races. The people of ancient Greece and Roma often confused the Olympian Eternals with the Olympian gods.
Over the centuries, many Eternals went on to live lives among ordinary human beings. The Eternals have also continually fought the Deviants' attempts to gain power or to subjugate humanity.
In recent years, the Fourth Host of the Celestials arrived on Earth to judge humanity. Fearing that the Celestials would destroy Earth if they judged against its people, Zuras led the Eternals against the Celestials, who retaliated by killing him. The Celestials nevertheless judged in Earth's favor and left Earth.
Zuras's daughter Thena contacted Zuras's spirit before it left this plane reality, and thus learned that the Eternals were to leave Earth to explore space now that the Celestials had departed. Virtually all of Earth's Eternals left for space in the form of the Uni-Mind. However, the Eternals' collective consciousness in the Uni-Mind decreed that a small number of Eternals who were particularly involved in Earthly matters remain behind. Among the Eternals who remained on Earth were Thena, their new ruler, Ikaris, Sersi, Makkari, the Forgotten One, Pixie, Sprite, Cybele, Phastos, Khoryphca, and Interloper.
As an example of the Eternals’ protection of Earth, they once attempted to form a truce with the Deviants, prompted by their leader, the Warlord Kro. Following this, the Deviant Karkas was invited to join the Eternals in Olympia, where his friendship with Thena grew into a romance. After a conflict sparked by a Deviant brain-mine device placed on Thena, Thena was asked to step down from leadership of the Eternals, a position since held by Ikaris.
During the time that the Titanian Starfox was a member of the Avengers, the team happened to be at a party hosted by Sersi and followed her to Olympia when the Eternals were attacked by Maelstrom. In defeating the villain, Starfox and the Eternals first learned of their shared origin, joining in the Uni-Mind in an unprecedented joining of Earth and Titan Eternals.More recently, Apocalpyse attempted to spark a war between the Deviants and the humans. Ikaris led the Eternals to stop the plot, allying with the Deviant Ransak. Ikaris also hoped to keep the Eternal’s existence a secret while serving humanity as costumed superhuman champions. He created a new heroic identity as Sovereign, leading the Eternals as a group known as the New Breed, although they later abandoned such endeavors.