Ikaris is a member of the Eternals, a near-immortal evolutionary offshoot of humanity created by the Celestials. He was born over twenty thousand years ago under another name, which has not been revealed. When the cities of Atlantis and Lemuria were sunk in 18,500 B.C. by the Second Host of the Celestials in what is now known as the Great Cataclysm, Ikaris guided an ark of refuges to safety by flying high above them, always watchful for ambushes. The humans aboard the ark mistook Ikaris for a bird, and the tale eventually became part of human folklore. Around this time, a Celestial committed some unknown crime while on Earth. It was punished by having its energies released from its armor, then forced into a deep slumber and buried by its fellow Celestials, where it became known as the “Dreaming Celestial”. The weapon used to disperse the Celestial and its essence are entombed within the Pyramid of the Four Winds, an Arctic facility built by Virako, Ikaris’ father. Ikaris is one of the few to know what the Pyramid contains.
Over the millennia, Ikaris became a constant opponent of the Deviants, a misshapen race who were also created by the Celestials. Although most Eternals judged Ikaris as rather head-strong, his closest friends stood united at his side, among them: the speedster Makkari, the hedonistic Sersi, and Thena, daughter of their leader, Zuras. In ancient Greece, Ikaris (under another name) fell in love with a human woman, whose name has long been lost to history. She bore him a son, whom she named Ikaris. The younger Ikaris did not gain the full power of an Eternal and wanted to fly with his father, so Makkari built the child a flight harness, which would enable the boy to fly on his own. Shortly thereafter, the elder Ikaris was called away to battle the Deviants. Seeking to find his father and help him fight, the younger Ikaris flew to locate him, but he soared too high, fainting from the lack of oxygen and losing control when the sun’s rays burnt the harness’ controls. Ikaris fell from the sky and into the Ocean; Ikaris buried his son and took the name Ikaris for his own to ensure that he would never forget. At some point in his life, Ikaris became the sworn enemy of the long-lived mutant Apocalypse.
Ikaris is a Marvel comics published character, created and designed by legendary comics creator Jack the King Kirby. Ikaris was created as a member of the Eternals, group of characters Kirby created around the same time he also introduced the Deviants (enemies to the Eternals) and the Celestials (the creators of both Eternals and Deviants) with Ikaris as one of the focal characters within the greater mythology of these groups and concepts. Kirby would draw from broad source materials for inspiration, with the Celestials for example drawing upon the works of Erich von Däniken for his Celestials and many of the Eternals based off Greek mythological archetypes. Ikaris itself being partially inspired by the Green mythological figure Icarus. Ikaris first appears in the Jack Kirby penned title The Eternals #1 - The Day of the Gods released in 1976.
Ikaris like many of Jack Kirby's contributions to the Marvel universe has become a popular and reoccurring character and features in many of Marvel's stories centered and involving the Eternals. Although there are some obvious similarities between Ikaris name and the Icarus of Greek Mythology, the Marvel character was eventually revealed to have named his son Icarus and after his sons tragic loss, similar to the fable of the mythological Icarus, adopted his child's name as a way to remember and honor him.
Ikaris and his fellow Eternals in many ways echo Kirby's DC project the New Gods, Kirby interested in mixing and combining science fiction concepts with past mythologies ideas and beliefs to create new ideas and characters. The New Gods born of similar ideas, both followed Kirby's work on Marvel's Thor. The Eternals forming a triptych with the Deviants and Celestials, Ikaris specifically is even alluded to having being mistaken as the dove that helped guide humanity when they were left in a massive ark after a great flood devastates the Earth. Ikaris is very much a classical protagonist as far as his peers not only being the first Eternal we are introduced to, but many Eternals-centric stories focusing on him specifically.
Major Story Arcs
The Forth Host
As the Eternals prepared for the coming of the Forth Host, Ikaris befriended Black Bolt, ruler of the Inhumans, another subspecies of humanity. During this time the Eternals assisted the Inhumans in moving their capital city of Attilan from the Atlantic Ocean to the Himalayan Mountains.
At the time of the Forth Host’s arrival on Earth, Ikaris adopted the human guise of “Ike Harris”; posing as a guide through the Andes Mountains for archaeologist Dr. Daniel Damian and his daughter Margo. Ikaris led the Damians to the city of the Space Gods where the Third Celestial Host had been based. Ikaris awakened Ajak who served as the Eternal’s point man for the Celestial Host; he contacted the Host and they arrived in orbit of Earth. The Deviants attempted to interfere, but to no avail. Dr. Damian remained with Ajak; Ikaris introduced Margo to the world of the Eternals, and the two became lovers. The Forth Celestial Host arrived soon after and the Eternal revealed their existence to humanity, but after judging in favor of life on Earth, the Celestials erased humanity’s memories of the event.
Many Eternals during this time chose to leave Earth and explore space, causing their numbers to dwindle on Earth. Zuras’ daughter became Prime Eternal in her father’s place (Zuras had been killed by the Forth Host), and Ikaris clashed with her over matters of authority, and when Ikaris became aware of a Deviant plot to awaken the Dreaming Celestial he challenged her for the position of Prime Eternal, feeling that Thena’s love of the Deviant Warlord Kro compromised her leadership. Ikaris won the title and aided by the Avengers was successful in defeating the Deviants, although Margo Damian was killed in the conflict. Ikaris buried her on an island where he had laid to rest dozens of other lovers over the centuries.
Margo’s death drove her father insane and he attempted to use Eternal technology to destroy both the Eternals and the Deviants. He was finally stopped and killed by his one-time friend Ajak. Later Ikaris was among the heroes who assisted Quasar in stopping the Starblasters in acquiring the Starbrand.
When Apocalypse further mutated the Deviants to make them run amok, Ikaris was forced to re-introduce the Eternals to humanity, although this time he called his people “the New Breed” and referred to himself as ‘Sovereign’.
Recently, seemingly suffering from partial memory loss, “Ike Harris” attempted to force “Mike Curry” that he was indeed Makkari. It was later revealed that Sprite (an eternally young Eternal) not only caused the memory loss, but caused the Dreaming Celestial to un-create the Eternals. Causing all Eternals to forget anything about themselves and lose all their abilities. Only Ikaris’ position as Prime Eternal allowed him to recall anything. Sprite was defeated by the reformed Eternals.
Powers and Abilities
Ikaris possesses the conventional attributes of the Eternal race, including special abilities he's developed through millennia of rigorous discipline. Like that of all Eternals, his life force is augmented by cosmic energy giving him total mental control over every molecule of his physical form and bodily processes at all times, even when he is asleep or unconscious. Like all Eternals, Ikaris possesses superhuman strength. He can physically lift approximately 50-100+ tons without using levitation to supplement his strength in any way. His strength-level is higher than the vast majority of his species. It is stated his physical strength could even rival beings such as Thor and Gilgamesh. Ikaris is immune to aging. Cosmic Energy makes Ikaris's immune system invulnerable to all Earthly disease and malady.
Should Ikaris be injured somehow, he could regenerate any injured or missing tissue, though the rate of each regeneration is incumbent upon the nature of the injury. Minor injuries heal quite fast while more extensive, severe injuries heal much more slowly. An Eternal can only die through an injury that disperses a significant portion of his body molecules, or if he is injured after his mental control over his body is somehow broken. He can resist temperature extremes through mental concentration. Cosmic energy bolsters Ikaris' metabolism so that he does easily tire from any physical exertion, though his stamina will eventually wane if he expends enough energy. Ikaris can levitate himself by mentally manipulating gravitons (subatomic particles carrying the force of gravitational attraction between atoms) around himself. He can also levitate other persons and objects, even while simultaneously levitating himself. well known to all Eternals for his flight prowess, Ikaris is able to fly via self-levitation at approximately 850 miles per hour (1.1 times the speed of sound), a rate of speed most other Eternals cannot match.
Ikaris has low level psychic abilities, enabling him to scan the superficial thoughts of any mind less adept than his own. He can mentally create illusions so as to disguise himself. Ikaris can also psionically manipulate atoms and molecules so as to transform an object's shape. However, Ikaris is only a second-level adept on a five level scale (the fifth level being the highest) in this discipline. He can rearrange molecules in the air so as to create a virtually impenetrable shield about him self.
Ikaris can project cosmic energy in the form of beams from his eyes or beams and flashes from his hands. This cosmic energy, stored in specialized enclaves of cells in his body, can be used as force, heat, light, and possibly other forms of electromagnetic energy. Ikaris can project a maximum concussive force of at least 260 pounds per square inch. He can project heat of a maximum temperature of at least 3,000 Fahrenheit, hot enough to melt iron. It takes about one minute for him to attain this maximum temperature. Because Ikaris's heat beams can vaporize solid objects, they are often called his disintegrator beams, The maximum range for his energy beams is about 200 feet. Ikaris is a fourth level adept on a five-level scale (the fifth level being the highest) in this discipline.
The expenditure of cosmic energy in this way continually for several hours will temporarily deplete Ikaris's physical strength, but not his resistance to injury, although it will temporarily increase his sensitivity to pain. He will rapidly return to normal after such lengthy energy expenditure is over. Ikaris can teleport himself psionically, but prefers not to do so, since, like other Eternals, he finds the self-teleportation process physically unpleasant. He can also teleport other people along with himself. Through a thousand years of training, Ikaris has vastly sharpened his senses to an extent that he would be able to warn the rest of the Eternals when the Celestials returned.
The Eternals (2021)
Richard Madden will portray Ikaris in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, debuting in The Eternals (2021).