A member of the immortal race of god-like super-humans the Eternals, Gilgamesh spent much of his early life wandering the Earth. During this time he was often mistaken for and regarded as various figures from legend or myth, such as Hercules, Atlas and Samson. Eventually, the leader of the Eternals, Zuras, sentenced Gilgamesh to be confined in the Eternals home city, Olympia, ostensibly because of Gilgamesh's prideful meddling in the mortal world. He remained in exile for decades, shunned by his fellow Eternals.
Gilgamesh was created by Jack Kirby and first appeared in The Eternals #13.
Initially a minor character in Jack Kirby's Eternals series, Gilgamesh returned in larger roles in the sequels to the original Eternals series told in Thor and the second Eternals series which were written by Mark Gruenwald and Peter B. Gillis respectively.
Still one of the minor Eternals, Gilgamesh was revamped by Walt Simonson and chosen by the writer to join the cast of The Avengers. Redesigned by Simonson and artist John Buscema, Gilgamesh became a founding member of the "new Avengers" team which was notable for it's quirky line-up featuring half of the Fantastic Four. Simonson unfortunately left the book abruptly after Gilgamesh was added to the team due to disagreements about the direction of the series, and while Gilgamesh remained with the team for a short time, he was eventually written out of the book by John Byrne not long afterwards and subsequently replaced on the team by fellow Eternal Sersi. Gilgamesh made sproadic appearances afterwards, mostly as an Avenger, and featured in the Operation: Galactic Storm and Citizen Kang crossovers before he was finally killed off in 1995 during The Crossing event.
A decade later, Gilgamesh was revived when the Eternals had a "soft reboot" by Neil Gaiman and John Romita Jr., which reset most their continuity. Although Gilgamesh didn't feature at all in Gaiman's Eternals series, his fate was the subject of an issue of Incredible Hercules and he did appear prominently in the follow-up Eternals series by writers Charles and Daniel Knauf and artist Daniel Acuna. This series reintroduced him with a new costume and depicted him as a villain aiding one of the series' chief antagonists. He was killed off for a second time by the conclusion of the series.
Gilgamesh was resurrected and again revamped by Robert Rodi and Stephen Segovia, with another new costume as well as new powers and a new status quo, in Thor: The Deviants Saga (a quasi-sequel to the Eternals Saga). The series returned Gilgamesh to the role of a hero and reunited him with his former comrade-in-arms Thor.
Major Story Arcs
Gilgamesh was eventually called out of exile by fellow Eternal, Sprite, who sought his aid to prevent the Deviants from attacking the Celestials with a bomb. Initially reluctant to leave his exile, Sprite manages to convince him to help, persuading him that Zuras' edicts do not hold while he is incapacitated as he has been. Gilgamesh travels into space, where he is able to destroy the bomb, but is badly injured and cast into space by the resulting explosion. He is rescued by the Celestials' leader, the One Above All.
The Eternals Saga
Living with the Celestials for a time, Gilgamesh was christened "Hero" by the One Above All, and eventually dispatched to Olympia to convince his fellow Eternals to avoid interfering with the Celestials. Not heeding his warning, or recognizing him as one of their own, the Eternals instead attacked Gilgamesh. After defeating most of the Eternals, Gilgamesh was attacked by Thor, who perceived him as a villain.
After a long, and equally matched battle, Gilgamesh was eventually defeated when he momentarily attempted to lift Mjolnir to no avail. Upon learning of his true identity, and that Gilgamesh was now blind and had previously left Olympia at Sprite's behest, Zuras decided to allow Gilgamesh to go free and ended his imposed exile.
Shortly afterwards, the Eternals went to war with the Olympian Gods, and Gilgamesh went into battle alongside his people. Gilgamesh fought against Hercules until the war was ended by Odin.
The Dreamer Under the Mountain
Gilgamesh subsequently journeyed to Lemuria to investigate the actions of Ghaur and the Deviants. Allying himself with Kro, Gilgamesh soon learnt of Ghaur's plot to become a Celestial and returned to Olympia to warn them of Ghaur's plans.
Gilgamesh and the Eternals launched an attack on Lemuria to stop Ghaur but were unsuccessful and Ghaur claimed the power of the Dreaming Celestial for himself. After subsequent failed attempts to defeat Ghaur, the Eternals sought help from the Avengers and together they formed a Uni-Mind which was able to destroy Ghaur's armor. Without the armor, Ghaur's Celestial energies were released and dissipated, ending the threat.
For more information see: Inferno
When demons commanded by the Goblin Queen and N'Astirh attacked New York, the Eternals became aware of the crisis and Thena summoned Gilgamesh and tasked him with aiding Earth as a monster slayer. Forging himself new armor and weapons to help him battle against the demon hordes, Gilgamesh journeyed to Earth.
Crossing paths with a new iteration of the Avengers, whose ranks were sorely depleted, Gilgamesh joined forces with them to battle against Nanny and the Orphan Maker who had kidnapped Franklin Richards. After battling against the two villains, Captain America and Mr. Fantastic suggested Gilgamesh join the team. After agreeing to become a member of the team, Gilgamesh accompanied them to find two former Avengers, Black Knight and Thor, whom they had witnessed returning to New York from a distance.
After the team battled off a swarm of demons who were overwhelming Thor and an immobile Black Knight, who had succumbed to the curse of his Ebony Blade, Franklin was again kidnapped, this time by N'astirh. The Avengers battled against more demons as well as the opportunity-seizing Kang and his Growing Man, and were able to free Franklin once more.
With the crisis over, thanks to X-Factor and the X-Men defeating the Goblin Queen, the Avengers returned home and Captain America proposed the new team of himself, Gilgamesh, Invisible Woman, Mr. Fantastic and Thor remain together. They each agreed and Gilgamesh remained with the Avengers.
After the Avengers re-established their base of operations on Avengers Island, they received an emergency call from former member Starfox, warning them that the Xandarian warrior called Super-Nova was heading towards Earth to attack the planet, believing the Avengers to be allies of Nebula.
With Super-Nova having already defeated Firelord and Starfox, the Avengers journeyed into space to battle the villain. Super-Nova fought against the team, damaging Gilgamesh's armor in the process, and departed with destroying his ship and believing he Avengers dead in the destruction. Luckily, Gilgamesh and the other heroes were saved by the Invisible Woman who had encased them in one of her invisible force fields.
After travelling back yo Earth, Gilgamesh and the Avengers again fought Super-Nova, this time calling in aid from past members and allies and were ultimately able to halt Super-Nova's attack by convincing him that they too were enemies of Nebula.
Invasion of the Lava Men
After a few more adventures with the team, Gilgamesh was among the many members, past and present, who Captain America inducted into a new Avengers team - one which reinstated almost every past member as active and on-call members and no longer dinstinguished them between East and West Coast teams.
Gilgamesh remained an active member of the team, now joined by Black Panther, Quasar, She-Hulk and Sub-Mariner, and when Avengers Island was attacked by the Lava Men, Gilgamesh battled alongside the team against them. The Avengers were eventually overwhelmed by their numbers and captured.
Brought before the Lava Men's high priest Jinku, the Avengers were accused of having murdered their God. Jinku then summoned an avatar of the Lava Men's god to destroy the Avengers who battled the beast. Unable to withstand it's power, most the Avengers were subdued, leaving only Gilgamesh and Thor standing. With things looking bad, Gilgamesh fell victim to madness and flung himself into battle and was seriously wounded and left comatose. After Gilgamesh's desperation left him injured and Jinku realized his accusations were incorrect, hostilities ceased between the Avengers and Lava Men.
Return to Olympia
Returning to Avengers Island, the Avengers called in the various members who were also doctors to help Gilgamesh. Unable to treat him with science, the Avengers sought out Sersi who suggested that the best way to cure Gilgamesh would be to return him to Olympia.
After journeying to Olympia, they found it was now located in the Negative Zone and was in the midst of an attack by Blastaar. The Avengers and Eternals joined forces to defeat Blastaar and then turned to treating Gilgamesh. Thena managed to revive Gilgamesh, who discovered he had become linked to Olympia due to his long exile, and to leave it is to weaken himself. Because of this, Gilgamesh is forced to resign from active membership with the team and remains behind in Olympia.
Operation: Galactic Storm
For more information see: Operation: Galactic Storm
Gilgamesh eventually grew tired of being forced to remain in Olympia and began journeying to Earth for short periods. Eventually he returned to the Avengers to aid them in the intergalactic war between the Kree and Shi'ar races. Breaking the team up into 3 separate squads, Captain America elected for Gilgamesh to remain on Earth rather than journey with the 2 space-bound squads, in case his desperation from Olympia caused him to again fall prey to injury in battle.
Despite being relegated to the team that was perceived as the Avengers who were deemed not powerful enough to be an asset in the war, Gilgamesh's presence of Earth proved to be invaluable when the planet was attacked by members of the Imperial Guard whom he single-handedly fought off all by himself.
Some time later, Gilgamesh continued his frequent voyages to Earth and alongside Captain America battled against an alien race called the Kronans. Investigating the Plant of Immortality with Captain America, Gilgamesh was attacked by a giant sea creature. The two Avengers were able to defeat the monster, but not before it devoured the plant.
Following an attack on Olympia by Maelstrom, Gilgamesh was left behind as a guard while the other Eternals went off to capture the fleeing attackers. He was then captured by Kang, who forced him to train his foot-soldiers known as the Anachronauts. Gilgamesh was able to escape, but in the process was aged signifcantly when Kang attempted to kill him by accelerating his life cycle. He managed to make his way towards Avengers Mansion, and was rescued from Anachronauts by the team.
Taking the injured Gilgamesh under their care, Hank Pym attempted to save his life, however the team were attacked in the Mansion by the Anachronaut Neut. While the Avengers again attempted to rescue their former team-mate, Neut succeeded in critically wounding Gilgamesh and departs, his mission accomplished. Gilgamesh dies in Crystal's arms before he is able to warn the Avengers of the coming danger and impending threat of Kang and Mantis.
Gilgamesh is eventually reborn as a carnival strongman living in Brazil when Sprite used the power of the Dreaming Celestial to return all the Eternals to life in human forms with no memory of their Eternal heritage.
When Ikaris and Thena were awakened, they sought out many of their fellow Eternals and wished to restore their memories of their true lives. Mistakenly identifying the Olympian God Hercules as Gilgamesh, Ikaris and Thena battled the demi-god who was reluctant to accept the notion he may be an amnesiac Gilgamesh. Eventually, the confusion was settled and the Eternals left realizing their mistake.
The real Gilgamesh however was approached by fellow Eternal Ajak who manipulated Gilgamesh, restoring his memory of his true identity but mentally convincing him that the other Eternals were traitors bent on destroying the world.
Gilgamesh was then sent by Ajak to attack several Eternals such as Druig, Legba and Makkari, all of whom he brutally beat almost to death. He then was sent to destroy the Eternals' resurrection chamber and fought against Thena and Zuras. After successfully destroying the chamber, Gilgamesh was killed by Thena who impaled him through the chest with her sword.
The Deviants Saga
Gilgamesh was restored to life with extra powers by the Dreaming Celestial who wished to compensate him for his manipulation at the hands of Ajak. Once again becoming the Forgotten One, he now only intervenes in events when he deems his presence needed.
Gilgamesh joined forces with Thor to help him rescue Karkas, Phastos and Ransak from Ghaur but ultimately holds back from the fray deeming he is needed elsewhere.
Powers and Abilities
As an Eternal, Gilgamesh possesses all the powers and abilities inherent to his race. This includes functional immortality and eternal youth, as well as invulnerability and an immunity to most illnesses and poisons. He can regenerate damaged tissue due to the molecular control he exerts over his body, though this control only exists with concentration. Having devoted much of his thousands of years of life to the development of his physical strength, Gilgamesh possesses enormous superhuman strength greater than that of any other Eternal and has been noted as being the physically strongest of the Eternals. He is capable of unaided flight/leviatation, manipulating matter on a molecular level and producing concussive or heat blasts from his eyes and hands. He has superhuman senses and reflexes. With literally thousands of years of experience, Gilgamesh is an exceptionally skilled armed and unarmed combatant who has shown proficiency with most ancient personal weapons such as axes and spears. He is also a skilled hunter and tracker.
Following his resurrection by the Dreaming Celestial, Gilgamesh now possesses heightened awareness to the events unfolding around the World which he is compelled to intervene in. Now, any who encounter him can sparsely remember him and over time memories of him fading from their minds completely.
In the world where the Avengers lost the Kree/Shi'ar War, Gilgamesh dies alongside everyone else on planet Earth. He is also one of the many Avengers who the surviving members pay tribute to when the war is over.