If you thought Marvel was digging deep into their canon by making Guardians Of The Galaxy, Eternals is here to prove you wrong. This race of immortal god-like beings living on Earth among humans is a psychedelic odyssey, masterminded by Jack Kirby at his most bizarre. It’s also never been all that popular: The original run ran from 1976 to 1978, totaling only 19 issues. Don’t let that fool you into believing the Eternals aren’t interesting, though — if anything, they were almost too colorful, unique, and truly strange to make a mainstream mark in their original incarnation.
The Eternals were created by the Celestials, an even more powerful race of immortal, universe-shaping entities. Making their home on Earth, the Eternals have been the inspiration for humanity’s deities for centuries. Ikaris, for example, originated the story of Icarus, while the Eternal known as the Forgotten One has been mistaken for fabled heroes including Samson, Beowulf, and Hercules. One other such Eternal is Sersi, who was immortalized in Homer’s Odyssey as Circe, a powerful sorceress skilled in the art of transmutation. Sersi is a lot of things: Fierce fighter, whimsical party girl, inter-dimensional traveler. We’re here to give you the lowdown on all things Sersi, before Gemma Chan brings her to the big screen.
Sersi throughout history
The first run of The Eternals begins with Ikaris revealing the threat posed by the race known as the Deviants to a scientist named Daniel Damian and his daughter, Margo. The Deviants were created by the Celestials, just like the Eternals — but where the Eternals are good, powerful, and kind, the Deviants are cruel, hideous, and prone to mutation. Knowing conflict is coming, Ikaris takes Margo to Sersi, so that she might keep the mortal girl safe in her chic Manhattan apartment.
Sersi agrees to do so, and proceeds to blow Margo’s mind by reminiscing about the time she turned Odysseus’ crew into pigs and all the magic she taught Merlin, back during her stint in King Arthur’s court. Margo is, of course, floored — especially since Sersi was, moments ago, apparently a gal-about-town prone to practicing her dance moves during idle hours at home. When the Deviants attack her apartment, she further reveals her skills as a warrior, barraging her foes with cosmic energy, blocking their blasts of flame, and transforming them into animals. Old habits die hard, apparently.
Sersi is legendary for her parties, whether they’re thrown at her Upper West Side apartment, or in the wilds of the ancient world. These shindigs aren’t just fun — they’re plot important. During one particularly raucous gathering, seen in 1984’s Avengers #246, Sersi is introduced to Marvel heroes including the Wasp, She-Hulk, and Starfox, who she learns is a fellow Eternal, from the moon of Titan. The party is interrupted when the Eternals attempt to summon her to participate in forming the Uni-Mind, a merging of their souls, but she ignores it. Undaunted, the Eternals known as the Delphan Brothers crash the party. Sersi is made to join the Uni-Mind, which results in the Eternals deciding to leave Earth. Sersi refuses to go along with this — she enjoys living among humans way too much to leave.
This encounter puts Sersi on the Avengers’ radar. When Captain America needs help finding a bunch of kids in 1989’s Captain America #355, he turns to Sersi to transform him into a teenager. She agrees to do it, so long as she gets a dinner date in exchange. Later, in Avengers #314, she actually joins the Avengers at Cap’s invitation. It just goes to show you: One great party can change everything.
Illusion and reality
So what are Sersi’s actual powers? Well, she’s basically immortal, for starters. Thanks to the cosmic power imbued in them by the Celestials, Eternals are very hard to kill, thanks to their control over their own molecular structure. This allows them to regenerate even if they take extreme damage, survive drowning and disease, and halt the aging process. Like all Eternals, Sersi can also zap you with eye beams and shoot energy out of her hands. Perhaps more impressive than those powers are her psychic abilities, however: Sersi, like the rest of the Eternals, is telekinetic, can teleport across vast distances, is a mind-reader, and can cast illusions.
What sets Sersi apart from the other Eternals is her skill in transmutation. In this sense, Homer captured her very well in the Odyssey (though she notes he got her name wrong) — but she doesn’t just change sailors into pigs. Sersi rearranges matter on the atomic level, with a skill the other Eternals recognize as unparalleled. On top of all of this, she is intelligent, kind-hearted, and a dancer with literal eons of experience to her name.
After Gilgamesh, her fellow Eternal, is severely injured, the Avengers turn to Sersi to help heal him. He is beyond her abilities, but she does agree to join the Avengers in his absence. Facing the space pirate Nebula in her first mission, thrillingly captured in 1990’s Avengers #315, she saves the team from total obliteration and helps restore reality.
For a while, things go swimmingly for Sersi. She handles Mother Night brainwashing help she hired for a party, banishes radioactive foes alongside Thor, and helps a demon called the Unspeakable One merge with his good half. All along, Sersi remains her bubbly, whip-smart self. She proves to be a major team asset, despite how different she is from the rest of the Avengers — sure, Captain America’s lifespan might last as long as a sneeze does in her immortal eyes, but who cares? She likes the heroics, she likes the people, and she’s awfully good at saving the day. But all that changes in her next mission as an Avenger.
The Avengers face an alien race called the Brethren, led by the charismatic Thane Ector, in a storyline that starts in 1991’s Avengers #334. Thane Ector falls in love with Sersi after capturing her, and she realizes they have a mysterious connection. The Brethren, it is revealed, are also creations of the Celestials, and the Collector, an old Avengers foe, is manipulating them to destroy Earth. Sersi forms the Uni-Mind with the Brethren to defeat the Collector, despite the fact that forming the Uni-Mind with another species is forbidden to Eternals.
Sersi’s behavior changes in the aftermath of the Uni-Mind. She becomes more violent and unstable, even as she starts to fall for her fellow Avenger, Dane Whitman. Things are thrown into outright chaos when the Avengers get involved in a huge interstellar war between the Kree and Shi’ar, which turns out to be a ruse concocted by the Kree’s Supreme Intelligence, to wipe out his race in order to create new evolutionary possibilities. When the Avengers learn this, a group including Sersi kills him. This tears apart the team.
Complicating things further, Dane develops feelings for new teammate Crystal, creating a love triangle. Against his better judgment, Dane starts a romance with Sersi. This does little to calm Sersi: When the team travels to a distant dimension to stop a young girl from being sacrificed by a priest, Sersi ends up killing him when he slays the girl.
After murdering the priest, Sersi flees to Wakanda. Dane talks her into coming back. Upon her return, however, she inexplicably attacks the Avengers, only to be defeated by the Vision’s old de-materializing hand-in-brain trick. Except this isn’t the Vision, but an impostor sent to infiltrate the team. Anti-Vision is one of the of the Gatherers, whose leader, the mysterious Proctor, is hellbent on terrorizing Sersi.
Sersi’s fellow Eternals Ikaris, Arex, and Sprite arrive and demand the Avengers hand Sersi over to them. Ikaris says she is suffering from a form of insanity found in Eternals called the Mahd Wy’ry, and that it was probably caused by her use of the Uni-Mind. Now, her fellow Eternals plan to take her home to Olympia and have her "cleansed," which means disintegrating her at a molecular level — the Eternal equivalent of execution.
The Avengers don’t like the sound of this, and a big fight ensues that only ends when Sprite reads Sersi’s mind and realizes she is in love with Dane. Without asking his permission, Ikaris bonds Dane to Sersi as her Gann Josin, or soulmate. Dane, who had just made a move on Crystal, gets stuck with glowing eyes and a terrifying imperative: Be with Sersi, or see her killed.
Targeted by Proctor
Sersi’s life continues to spiral out of control, especially after the murder of two detectives is connected to her. At this point, she tells Dane that she isn’t sure if she truly is going insane or not. When the police arrive to arrest her for the murders, she responds by leveling Avengers Mansion. Dane remains by her side, believing in her innocence … until Sersi goes after Crystal. Then, Dane realizes she has truly gone mad and needs to be stopped.
At this point, the enigmatic Proctor captures her and reveals himself as the Dane Whitman of an alternate universe. He was rejected by the Sersi of his world, so he made it his mission to drive her insane in every other reality, using powers stolen from a Watcher. At last, Sersi knows her erratic behavior is not her fault — but the damage has been done regardless. Sersi kills him with his own Ebony Blade and exiles herself to another dimension. The Dane of her world, his own mind cleared by Proctor’s death, opts to join her.
Into the Ultraverse
Sersi and Dane enter the Ultraverse, home to an alternate Earth with a whole other cast of superheroes to its name. Fun fact: The Ultraverse was actually the creation of Malibu Comics, a company Marvel bought in 1994. Sersi and Dane are split apart upon their arrival. The journey has the desired effect, as Sersi finally comes to her senses, dimensions away from Proctor’s control. That clarity doesn’t last long, unfortunately, as she is immediately possessed by a heretofore unknown Infinity Gem called the Ego Gem.
The other Infinity Gems are transported to the Ultraverse, along with Loki. Loki obtains the other six Gems, and the possessed Sersi sends a superhero team called Ultraforce, led by Dane, after him. When the Grandmaster travels to the Ultraverse to seek his old Mind Gem, he proposes a contest to Loki. His pawns will be the Avengers, zapped to the Ultraverse, while Loki’s team will be Ultraforce. Loki wins, but it was all a ruse for Sersi to get close enough for the Ego Gem to reunite with the other legendary stones.
The Gem become a sentient, godlike being called Nemesis. Nemesis combines the two universes but can’t quite hold it, and is ultimately defeated when Dane cuts off her crown with the Ebony Blade. That splits the Gems apart once again, reconstitutes the Ultraverse, and gives Dane and Sersi a chance to return home.
Detour through the Crusades
Sersi and Dane don’t arrive on present-day Earth when they make their return. Instead, they find themselves in the midst of the Crusades. Dane’s mind winds up in the body of a Crusader ancestor named Eobar Garrington, and it takes Sersi convincing Eobar’s spirit to move on before Dane can assert himself. Eobar’s best friend and fellow Crusader, Bennet du Paris, isn’t pleased: The pair had been on their way to find the Eternal Pharoah in his Tower of Power. Dane’s accidental takeover of Eobar’s body spells the end of that quest, angering Bennet, who goes on by himself.
Bennet is found by that Pharoah, who turns out to be Apocalypse. He activates Bennet’s latent mutant powers, and Bennet becomes the powerful telepath, Exodus. Apocalypse orders him to kill Dane and Sersi, but he refuses to kill his old friend. Apocalypse strips him of his powers and traps him in suspended animation for the next 900 years. Magneto frees him to fight the combined forces of the Avengers and the X-Men, a storyline explored in the early-’90s X-Factor series.
Sersi and Dane manage to return to their rightful time, albeit once again in different places. The trip tears apart their Gann Josin link, and Sersi and Dane split up for good.
Sersi returns to Olympia. Apocalypse is busy turning Deviants into mindless monsters who have begun attacking humans. Led by Ikaris, the Eternals pose as a new team of superheroes called the New Breed, and Sersi takes the code-name Mesmer.
This lasts until the mischievous Eternal known as Sprite pulls his ultimate prank in the 2006 Eternals series: Erasing the memories of every Eternal. Sersi becomes a mild-mannered party planner, ignorant of her powers and origin. When one of her parties is attacked by terrorists, Makkari, her former lover and fellow Eternal, helps stop them. Iron Man shows up to question Makkari, living an amnesiac life as Mark Curry. Tony recognizes Sersi as a former Avenger, but is shocked to discover that there is no record of her in any database or file.
As it turns out, this is all a Deviant ruse, designed to awaken the Dreaming Celestial, who had been banished to Earth for speaking out against the abuse of Deviants. Sersi regains her memories and revives Makkari after he is pummeled by the Forgotten One. After Makkari convinces the Dreaming Celestial to wait fifty years before passing judgement on Earth, Sersi decides to give up superheroics once and for all. She goes back to her party planning job, and other than occasionally advising the Avengers, keeps her promise to stay retired.
A horrible secret
The bodies of dead Celestials begin raining down on Earth in 2018’s Avengers #1. Who could have killed these omnipotent beings so easily? It was the Final Host of Dark Celestials, ready to wipe Earth out. The Avengers learn that the Celestials serve a transcendent being called the Fulcrum, and their job is to not only experiment on young worlds, but to destroy them after millions of years to reap their energy. The Fulcrum also created a race of insect creatures called the Horde. The Dark Celestials came about when the Horde infected some Celestials. Now, they’re planning to destroy the Earth.
The Eternals learn that their true purpose wasn’t to protect humanity, but to cultivate them like crops for the eventual use of the Celestials. This realization drives them all insane, and they kill themselves … including Sersi. Thanks to Ikaris’ last words, Iron Man determines a way for humans to form the Uni-Mind. He is then told that something in human DNA can stop the Horde — humans act as antibodies, of a sort, against them — and they manage to save the day. Sersi might be gone for now, but no one stays dead in comics for long, especially if they have a history of immortality. Here’s hoping she’ll be able to get back to her party-throwing soon.