ETERNITY GIRL #3 by Madgalene Visaggio, Sonny Liew, Chris Chuckry, and Todd Klein
Art
Characters
Plot
Summary
This issue doesn't discuss mental health as starkly as the ones before it, but the moments it does offer are powerful. The art brings the meaning across in an adept way, and it moves the plot forward. ETERNITY GIRL #3 moves us up the hill of rising action, making us eager about what's to come.
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Slowing It Down

So far, ETERNITY GIRL has been a behemoth to be reckoned with. It’s a story that hits hard in the heart and gives you an adrenaline rush. But with ETERNITY GIRL #3, writer Magdalene Visaggio takes it down a notch.

The issue is more plot-based, less adamant about directly addressing mental health issues, and a tad less action-packed. But that’s all good. Third issues can really change the direction of an arc, and sometimes we need to breathe in the middle to build a proper story.

ETERNITY GIRL #3 Gets Explosive

ETERNITY GIRL #3 picks up almost immediately after the previous issue. Agent Sloan is standing outside of his house, which Caroline completely destroyed in an act of payback. He knows it’s personal, and he doesn’t report it to proper authorities. He instead brings in Rick Rex, aka The Never Man, to take care of it.

ETERNITY GIRL #3
ETERNITY GIRL #3, page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

Meanwhile, Lord Crash discuss the fact that Astrolas – who should be unkillable – is dead. Crash wants to do something about the chaos that is unfolding, but his companions are not on board. Caroline then calls her friend, Dani, and explains that she went to Sloan’s house. She says that it did not go so well and she may never see her friend again. Dani is obviously distraught by this admission.

Caroline monologues about reality, saying things like, “Everything fades into everything. I wonder if I can’t die because there’s no such thing.” We see her speaking to her therapist again and falling from the same bridge that she has in previous issues. But as she moves toward the Shining Tower — the pillar that holds reality together — Madam Atom takes the place of her therapist.

Atom confesses that she once killed Caroline, but reveals no details. While the two approach the Chaos Engine, Dani finds Caroline on the roof of her apartment. Caroline knows that she’s capable of fission — more or less vaporizing everything in the wake of an explosion caused by light, heat, and radiation.

ETERNITY GIRL #3
ETERNITY GIRL #3, page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

ETERNITY GIRL #3 ends, leaving us in suspense.

Inside the Mind

In the past couple issues, Visaggio has faced mental health issues head-on. She continues to do the same in ETERNITY GIRL #3 but in a subtle way. We see Caroline’s reality change. We see the image that she plays in her head, we see her in therapy. But her health is not at the center of the narrative.

But that’s often how mental health issues manifest. They’re always with us. They always play a role. But they are not always the whole story. Though they may be one of the root causes of some events in our lives, they do not define us or dictate our entire story. That’s how it is for Caroline, as well.

However, there is something else going on with Madame Atom and Caroline. Atom seems to be a manifestation of Caroline’s guilt and something that plays into her mental wellbeing. The moment when Atom replaces Caroline’s therapist is extremely powerful. It symbolizes our delusions or mental health challenges taking control of us and convincing us that they’re an authority to be listened to.

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ETERNITY GIRL #3, page 5. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

For example, some people with anxiety (such as myself) have to train themselves to understand the difference between an authentic thought, and one manifested by our symptoms. When we treat paranoid or stress-induced thoughts as trustworthy, we can spiral very quickly. That’s why seeing Madame Atom in a position of authority is terrifying. It’s a short moment, but it’s absolutely essential in the narrative going forward.

Though it adds to the message and narrative of the story, it doesn’t seem to add much to the characters. It’s building on things we already know but only adding a touch of depth to Caroline in particular. For the most part, the characters remain stagnant in order to push plot.

An Iconic New Look

ETERNITY GIRL #3, like the issues before it, has such an iconic look. Penciler and inker Sonny Liew creates phenomenal moments that have a very large impact. There is a very emotional moment created with two seemingly simple panels. One has half of Caroline’ face, upside down.

The other shows half of Atom’s face. The two come together to form one, in a sort of yin and yang formation. That image says a lot about these two characters and their relationship, and it comes across very simply and clearly.

The impact is only exacerbated by the colors of Chris Chuckry. His way of using pastel tones in conjunction with bold colors is like none other that can be seen in a comics lineup right now. It gives ETERNITY GIRL a look that truly sets it apart, and he deserves applause.

Mags Visaggio on KIM & KIM: LOVE IS A BATTLEFIELD

Though Todd Klein’s letters are consistent and reliable, there isn’t really a standout moment for him during this particular issue. But he’s still a force to be reckoned with, and I can’t wait to see what he does in future issues.

Moving Right Along

ETERNITY GIRL #3 acts as rising action for the arc. There’s a lot going on, but it’s all leading to something else. The pace is a little slower than the previous two issues, but I believe that it’s meant to ground us and focus us in on what is about to happen. And what’s wonderful is the fact that I truly have no idea what is about to happen.

There have been hints and allusions (there’s definitely something hidden in Lord Crash’s conversation), but not enough to give the next few issues away. This is a roller coaster in the dark. We’re currently climbing the hill with no real idea of when the drop will come, or what follows.

The end of ETERNITY GIRL #3 very well could be the beginning of the dip that’ll plunge us into the ride, but we don’t really know yet, which is just plain thrilling.

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