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Your guide to understanding Marvel's Druig

The world of Marvel is jam-packed with superhero teams, from the X-Men and the Guardians of the Galaxy to lesser-known Marvel squads like the Great Lakes Avengers and the Craptacular B-Sides. But without a doubt, the most powerful team has got to be the Eternals, a cosmic race of beings made up of luminaries like Ikaris and Sersi.

Of course, unless you're into fairly deep cuts of comics, it's unlikely you have the same level of passing knowledge about the Eternals as you would about a hero like Spider-Man. And in learning more about the Eternals, there aren't many better places to start than Druig. An incredibly powerful supervillain, Druig is one of the group's main foes, and he gets his kicks from torture. So yeah, he's not exactly a pleasant fellow, but if you want to learn more about one of the Eternals' toughest bad guys, here's your guide for understanding Druig.

Who are the Eternals?

Before we start diving into what makes Druig tick, we should probably talk about the Eternals themselves. Just who are these beings, and what are they capable of?

The Eternals were created by the godlike Celestials over a million years ago on Earth. The Celestials visited the planet and experimented on the life they found there, creating the Eternals and their rivals, the Deviants. Since then, the group has generally served as protectors of humanity, though frequent squabbles and infighting can often disrupt that element.

As far as their powers, most of the Eternals are fairly similar. They can manipulate things on a cellular level, granting them a host of impressive abilities. Eternals have super strength, can teleport and fly, can channel energy blasts, and have some level of telepathic ability. The Eternals are resistant to damage and disease, and they're essentially immortal. They can also fuse their powers together to create a "Uni-Mind," a being of even more extraordinary power.

Though their powers are similar, many of the Eternals have spent generations honing specific abilities, so they each have their specialties.

Druig's first appearances

The Eternals first appeared in a self-titled series by Jack Kirby in 1976. One of Marvel's most renowned creators, Kirby is probably most famous for his wild colors and love of powerful, cosmic beings. (His art was the central inspiration for the neon-drenched, psychedelic palette of Thor: Ragnarok.) However, the guy we're talking about today — Druig himself — didn't actually appear when the series originally debuted. Instead, the villain first showed up in The Eternals #11 in May 1977.

Though Druig appeared in May 1977, he didn't start to play a major role in The Eternals until a few months later. When Neil Gaiman of The Sandman fame rebooted the group with his 2006 miniseries, Druig became a much bigger character, serving as almost a Dr. Doom-esque figure.

Druig has a villainous look about him, especially since most of the Eternals appear as beautiful humans, almost like Greek gods. However, Druig's striking, black goatee and shining red armor set him apart from the looks of his fellow cosmic beings, and he looks downright vampirish in Gaiman's version of the story.

Druig's unique power set

So, how does Druig factor into the Eternals' story? Well, he's Ikaris' cousin. Ikrais is basically the leader of these super beings (aka the "Prime Eternal"), and when he's not shooting cosmic energy out of his eyeballs, he's doing stuff like leading Noah's Ark to safety and battling with Apocalypse. Needless to say, Druig is frequently portrayed as jealous of his cousin's abilities. Plus, he's relatively young when it comes to Eternals, as he's only about 20,000 years old, making him a "fourth generation" Eternal.

All the Eternals have similar skills, but Druig has focused his talents on what can help him get ahead. He's never had much interest in working with the rest of the group, often attempting power grabs and scheming to help set himself into favorable positions. As such, he's an incredibly dangerous individual, especially when he catches his foes unaware.

Druig is incredibly manipulative, even when not focusing his psychic powers. And, oh yeah, we should probably mention that he has psychic powers. He's cultivated a telepathic ability to locate a person's worst fear and force them to relive it, paralyzing them or exerting complete control over their mind. Druig also has the ability to brainwash or completely override someone's free will. On top of all that, Druig is one of the most skilled transmuters (the ability to alter matter) among all the Eternals, and he's also honed his energy projection to be especially painful when fighting his own kind.

Unleashing Dromedan

Druig has worked with his fellow Eternals in aiding humanity and battling the Deviants, but he's often tried to find self-serving angles in the aftermath of such events. In one of Druig's earliest appearances, he worked with a few other Eternals to stop Thor from mistakenly unleashing an incredibly dangerous being named Dromedan. Of course, our boy had a secret plan going, one that involved a bit of global domination.

Dromedan was created by the Deviants to be a living weapon that could defeat the Eternals, but it was actually deemed too powerful, and they sealed it away beneath the mountains of Peru. Thor would've released it, but Druig and the Eternals stopped him before the god of thunder could free the destructive creature. Druig then created a special helmet that he thought could resist Dromedan's psychic abilities and sought to use the weapon to gain control of the planet. His helmet failed, however, and Dromedan took control of Druig once he was freed.

The Eternals were able to combine their abilities to stop Dromedan, but they actually remained unaware that it was one of their own who'd released it. This wasn't the last time that Druig jeopardized the world in his quest for power, either.

The KGB and 'The Weapon'

It would be a while after the stunt with Dromedan before Druig resurfaced, but he did so with typical, supervillain aplomb. Druig hid himself in the USSR and joined the KGB, utilizing his unique abilities and love of causing pain to become an expert in torture. In between torturing political prisoners, Druig found time to torment his cousin, Ikaris, and discover the location of an ancient superweapon.

Druig obtained the weapon and planned to use it to destroy a Celestial named Ziran the Tester. However, Ikaris guessed at Druig's plan and was able to stop him by channeling a massive energy blast and disintegrating the villain before he could fire on Ziran.

However, the Eternals can be brought back to life, so the Celestials (pictured above) captured Druig's spirit and imprisoned it at the Desecration Annex. This is essentially an interstellar prison guarded by a powerful being called the Godstalker. Druig's spirit was almost released during a few destructive battles, but he remained imprisoned in the Desecration Annex until another Eternal started meddling with the power of the Celestials.

How Druig seized control of Vorozheika

With Druig safely locked away in the Desecration Annex, it was time for a different Eternal to come and mess everything up. That sounds like a job for Sprite! A notorious trickster, Sprite used the power of a slumbering being called the Dreaming Celestial to transform every Eternal into a human and rewrite reality as we know it. This released Druig from his prison and saw him reborn as Ivan Druig, deputy prime minister of an Eastern European country called Vorozheika.

A party hosted by the Vorozheikan brought a few of the latent Eternals together, helping them remember who they were and reawakening their abilities that Sprite had suppressed. However, even with a bunch of superheroes running around, international politics can get pretty messy. Around this time, an assassination attempt on Druig backfired, as the newly empowered Eternals quickly dispatched the mercenaries sent to do the deed. But then, Druig used the chaos and confusion at the embassy to enact a coup. He used his newly reawakened powers to kill all his political rivals and seize control as the ruler of Vorozheika. He then helped the Eternals pacify a threat in return for an agreement that the group not interfere with his business in Vorozheika.

The search for lost Eternals

As Eternals across the world started to reawaken from Sprite's rewriting of reality, different factions of the group started racing to them in an effort to bolster their forces. But when it came to collecting new Eternal recruits, Druig had a few significant advantages. After all, he had the entire intelligence agency of Vorozheika at his disposal, and he had a solemn vow that the other Eternals wouldn't interfere with him. He also learned that he could brainwash Eternals as they awoke to be subservient to him.

With Druig's following growing at a steady clip, the Eternal warrior known as Zuras turned his entire focus to countering this threat. On top of that, Druig's cousin, Ikaris, grew tired of the passive way the Eternals were combating this massive threat, and he actually renounced his ties to the group in order to assault Druig directly. Ikaris was actually able to unite the X-Men to help him battle his cousin and his host of brainwashed Eternals. The two sides were pretty evenly matched, but an even bigger threat forced them to a truce.

The alliance against the Horde

The Celestials — the beings who created the Eternals, Deviants, and much of the other life in the universe — have a dark opposite out there in the cosmos: the Horde. If the Celestials are beings of creation, the Horde are creatures of pure destruction. And when the Eternals began to reawaken and assert their powers on Earth, this in turn began to reactivate the Dreaming Celestial. That much power lit up like a beacon in the night, drawing the destructive Horde towards Earth.

With such a powerful and destructive force headed for the planet, Druig realized he had bigger things to worry about than his power grab in Vorozheika. He and the other Eternals turned their attention toward the incoming threat, as the Horde was a powerful enough force to completely obliterate the planet and everything on it. Eventually, it took the combined power of the Eternals and the Dreaming Celestial to repel the Horde and save Earth. In the comics, this was essentially the last we heard of Druig, but in the crazy world of Marvel, you never know when this supervillain might make his triumphant return.

Druig's on-screen portrayals

Druig has actually appeared on-screen before outside of the MCU version of The Eternals. In the animated miniseries Marvel Knights: Eternals, Druig is played by veteran character/voice actor Alex Zahara. Zahara's been in smaller roles in some major films, like Horns, The Thirteenth Warrior, and 2012, and he's also voiced characters in several animated films and series.

Not to downplay Zahara's portrayal of the character, but most people are going to be interested in Druig's presence in the MCU. In the star-studded cast of The Eternals — which also includes big names like Angelina Jolie, Kit Harrington, Salma Hayek, Kumail Nanjiani, Richard Madden, and many others — Druig is played by Barry Keoghan. Keoghan seems like an inspired bit of casting. He may not have a ton of name recognition yet, but he has shown range and serious ability in movies like Dunkirk, The Killing of the Sacred Deer, and in the HBO miniseries Chernobyl.

Keoghan seems primed to become a major star. In addition to The Eternals, he also has roles lined up in The Batman and The Green Knight. Druig could be a major player in the MCU if Keoghan's star continues to rise.