Gilgamesh is probably one of the oldest documented hero stories known. His roots are lost in the mists of time, but a great deal of what we know of him is thanks to the works of Sumerian writers and poets. We know that he was the king of Uruk, and that he was a brave and powerful warrior, but that’s about it. After his death, he travelled across the sea to the land of the dead to meet his ancestor Ut-Napishtim (Noah in the Old Testament), and he was granted eternal life for his trouble. His popularity inspired a number of other writers to create new tales and tell them about Gilgamesh, and it has also inspired several movies.
The last character clearly seen in the teaser of Eternals is Gilgamesh, played by Don Lee. In the movie, Gilgamesh is described as the strongest, but also the nicest of all the Eternals. But something must have gone wrong when he was exiled with his lover, Shadow. In the comic books, aside from not looking Asian at all, Gilgamesh is very different: He could hardly be called friendly, and he had never had a romantic relationship with the Shadow, who had in fact held him captive for centuries with the other Eternals. Let’s take a look at the original guy.
One of the oldest Eternals, whose real name has been lost over the centuries, was born in the Neolithic and was here by the time the Ice Age arrived. Powerful and proud, he roamed the earth, becoming a hero to all who worshipped him as a god, and became known as Gilgamesh in the ancient city-state of Uruk in Sumer. Gilgamesh is remembered as a seasoned hero, slayer of monsters and rival of the gods. He was the subject of the first epic poem ever written by mankind, and his deeds have been immortalized by subsequent generations. He traveled the world, killed monsters, overthrew tyrants, brought peace to a powerless population, and was mistaken for Hercules, Samson, and other legendary heroes to whom he attributed some of his adventures (for example, it was he who performed one of the twelve mythical labors, taking the river to clean Abel’s stables). He eventually met the real Hercules and even became friends with him: Together they fought the demon Pazuzu in the guise of the demonic dragon Zu. He meets other classical heroes, befriends the mighty Achilles, fights alongside Aeneas to conquer Latium, helps King David defend his kingdom, and so on, constantly intervening in human history. Finally, Zuras, the leader of the Eternals of Olympia, appeared before him, revealed his true Eternal lineage, and forbade him to interfere further in the affairs of the people, for the existence of their race was a secret to be kept. Proud and defiant, Gilgamesh refuses to comply and continues to act like the mythical hero he has always been, believing his power to be unquestionable….. Unfortunately, Zuras was also the most powerful Eternal on this planet: He overpowered him and locked him up in a prison built for him in Olympia. His name has been erased from history, and millennia later he is a forgotten man.
As the Forgotten One, he remained chained and alone for thousands of years, no one knowing who he was or what he had done, for he was the only prisoner in the history of the Eternals. When the Fourth Master finally arrived, he received his first visit: The wily Sprite, the only one left behind by the One Spirit, has discovered a ship of anomalous beings, ready to attack the Master’s mothership. The Forgotten One, always ready to fight, agreed to be released and attacked the Deviants, reminding them why his name has been feared and revered for centuries: he destroyed the ship with his bare hands and left himself floating in space. The ship of the fourth master took the unconscious forgotten one on board, and it was there that One Above All, the leader of all the undead, gave him a new name: Held. He revived him and sent him back to Earth, entrusted him with a message for the Eternals: They are forbidden to interfere in any way with the plans of the Celestials. Zuras acknowledged his courage and strength, forgave him, accepted his new name, and placed him under the care of Sprite as a symbolic punishment. However, the mission entrusted to him by the One who is above everything goes beyond a simple message and is also addressed to the Deviants: The hero went to Lemuria, their flooded city, and there he made contact with Kro, the warlord. He led him to the Pyramid of the Winds, where Fastos and Valkin had hidden weapons that could injure even the undead, and helped him inside. The other Eternals intervened, thinking him a traitor, but he never revealed the exact terms of the command he had received from the One Above All. After this one mission, however, he felt justified in returning to the human world and resumed his old habits: He saved Franklin Richards from the demons of N astirch, and when Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman invite him to stay, he joins the newly reformed Avengers. He also adopted the name Gilgamesh: This time he chose his own name.
Gilgamesh, or Hero, or Forgotten, is a warrior, hardened by the fire of thousands of battles, always ready to face tyrants, monsters, beasts, and armies of evil. As an Eternal, he is virtually immortal and invulnerable, can harness cosmic energy to produce powerful heat discharges, fly, teleport, use telepathy and telekinesis, and control his body down to the molecular level. He is also the second most powerful Eternal after Thanos, and by far the most skilled in physical combat. He has mastered every form of armed and unarmed combat ever devised by humans and Eternals. Gilgamesh, one of the most powerful Eternals on earth, lives for battle and fights for what he thinks is right: His power is surpassed only by his pride, which is still that of an ancient king, a hero who dared to defy the gods for the right to take his fate into his own hands.
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