“What if it turns out I really am some kind of freak?”
—Sersi (Gaiman 75)
“Tell Iron Man that I just want a normal life. I won’t cause any trouble.”
—Sersi (Gaiman 128)
“That was someone else, a long time ago. They said I’d remember, but I don’t remember. All I know is that the man I—I really liked—is now someone else. And, I can change things into other things just by wanting it to happen.”
—Sersi (Gaiman 184)
So—Sersi’s kind of an off character in the Marvel continuity because, while she’s been around since 1976 when Jack Kirby first introduced Sersi in The Eternals #3 (Wikipedia)—well, if we ignore that Sersi also appeared under a different name in the 1965 Strange Tales #109 (Comic Vine)—Sersi isn’t an ubiquitous agent.
Which is funny since Sersi is an Eternal, who are functionally immortal, and has been causing mischief since at least ancient Sumeria (Marvel Wikia).
And, that’s the thing, Sersi is a trickster—I think it’s a requirement of having transmutation/illusion powers—but she’s largely a harmless trickster.
Unless outsider forces are mucking about.
Proctor, another dimension’s iteration of Black Knight, who was rejected by his world’s Sersi, and like the superpowered asshat who thinks friendzoning is an actual thing that he is, he’s dimension-hopping and destroying the lives of (and killing) every version of Sersi that he can (Comic Vine).
Because that’s not epically creepy and gross at all.
Yet part of the destruction of Sersi is to make Sersi feel like she’s going insane and framing her for multiple murders—which is made so much better by the other Eternals getting involved and, with Sersi’s unspoken YES, DO THE THING, forcing a Vulcan mind-meld Gann Josin—a sort of couples-only Uni-mind (It’s a mind-meld. Come on, Marvel.)—upon the Black Knight because Sersi has a thing for him.
Yeah, Sersi was—not herself, but it’s still problematic and kinda more-than-a-little icky.
Maybe this is why Sersi doesn’t stay with the Avengers, doesn’t remain a superhero, because while Sersi is as capricious as any other god—and as fickle and uncaring for petty mortal concerns (and, sometimes, petty mortal agency)—and could be likened unto Loki if Loki didn’t tend towards the villainous and the assholier-than-thou, this really isn’t her.
Sersi’s kind of a glam-bam party-girl.
She likes fashion and dancing, parties and party-planning (Marvel Universe).
She likes to make Steve Rogers uncomfortable, but I’m also not sure that it isn’t just that Steve is an easy mark (Comic Vine).
She likes to be free—which is something that isn’t really, truly on the table for Sersi because she’s an Eternal, and the Eternals are basically bound to the Earth and to humanity because they are part of humanity.
Sersi knows this better than any Eternal except the Forgotten One (Comic Vine), knows that agency and independence and freedom—circumspect though it might be—is important.
That petty mortal affairs are important too.
Why else would she be so determined to throw the best parties, yeah? Eat, drink, and be merry because tomorrow we die.
And, Sersi knows that the eventuality of death is something that can even catch-hold of an Eternal (Comic Vine).
So—Sersi’s complicated and obfuscated because of her peripheral inclusion into the Marvel universe, but the choice to connect Sersi to legends and tales and not-quite-histories gives us even more of her: that Sersi is Circe from The Odyssey, that Sersi knew and helped Merlin in King Arthur’s Court, that Sersi fought alongside Gilgamesh once upon a time, that Sersi danced while Nero burned Rome.
Sersi finds independence through humanity and her little mayfly friends, finds importance in brevity and ephemeral things because everything is ephemeral and transient when you’re effectively immortal, and finds herself through a denial (but not outright rejection) of the Eternals and their plots and plans and duties and by (largely) retiring from the superhero game.
And, those are pretty significant decisions and not ones easily made, but it’s also so, so, so important that a character like Sersi—all-powerful, subatomic manipulating, functional god that she is—makes these decisions.
That she realizes the consequences of her past actions—even if they’re not (completely) of her own intent—and finds ways to make amends, to become better.
Comic Vine contributors. “Sersi (Character).” Comic Vine. Comic Vine Wiki. 17 May 2013. Web. 11 Apr. 2015.
Gaiman, Neil (w) and John Romita Jr. (a). “Eternals By Neil Gaiman.” Eternals Collected Edition (December 2011); #1 Eternals (June 2006), Marvel; #2 Eternals (July 2006), Marvel; #3 Eternals (August 2006), Marvel; #4 Eternals (September 2006), Marvel; #5 Eternals (November 2006), Marvel; #6 Eternals (January 2007), Marvel; #7 Eternals (February 2007), Marvel. Digital Comic.
Marvel Universe contributors. “Sersi.” Marvel Universe Wiki. Marvel Universe Wiki, n.d. Web. 12 Apr. 2015
Marvel Wikia contributors. “Sersi (Earth-616).” Marvel Database. Marvel Database, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2015
Wikipedia contributors. “Sersi.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 12 Apr. 2015. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.