Many years ago, Caroline Sharp was transformed into the heroine Chrysalis, gaining powerful shapeshifting abilities but also gaining a hideous appearance. She used these powers as a member of the covert government agency ALPHA 13, defending the world from the machinations of anarchist Madame Atom.
But that's all in the past now. Madame Atom is long dead and Caroline's a washed-up washout who was forcibly retired after her increasingly-unstable powers caused an incident. Now she spends her days trying to come up with a way to kill herself once and for all. Enter Madame Atom, who is apparently alive again, and who promises to help Caroline break her curse once and for all. There's just one catch - it may end up destroying the rest of the world as well.
This minseries contains examples of:
- Alliterative Name: One of Caroline's allies in the 1956 story is named Rick Rex.
- Ascended to a Higher Plane of Existence: The miniseries ends with Caroline deciding to end her world, not the world, by finally letting go of her old life and joining the Lords of Order.
- Barrier Maiden: Astrolas guards the tower that holds up reality itself.
- Breaking the Fourth Wall: Early in the book, Caroline addresses the reader directly, claiming that she is actually an old intellectual property that has never caught on but which the publisher refuses to allow to lapse.
- Comic Book Death: Nearly every other character who dies over the course of the miniseries stays dead, but Caroline doesn't.
- Darker and Edgier: The 1981 "ALPHA 13" series involved Chrysalis leading a secret government team of super-powered misfits against Madame Atom. In this version, Madame Atom is a mad anarchist, but ALPHA 13's members are all either conscripted or being led around by the nose. According to the narration, the series constantly struggled to find an audience.
- Death Seeker: All Caroline wants is to die. Her desperate quest to die fuels the plot of the miniseries.
- Driven to Madness: It's implied Madame Atom's desire to destroy everything, as well as her return from death, were the result of her personal reboot going wrong and making her aware of the truth of their reality.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: In the 1956 origin story, Caroline becomes the Formless Girl while trying to prevent Madame Atom from boring into an ancient ziggurat and unleashing the destructive magical energy within.
- Expy: Caroline is rather obviously based on Urania Blackwell, the Silver Age Element Girl, who sought to kill herself in a short story in The Sandman. Magadelene Visaggio once mentioned pitching an Element Girl miniseries whose premise is similar to Eternity Girl.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Subverted in the 1990 Chrysalis: The Eternity Girl series, which opens with a narrator explaining that a young couple just had an abortion.
- Omnicidal Maniac: Madame Atom seeks to wipe out all of existence in order to break the seemingly endless cycle of life, death, and rebirth in which she and Caroline are locked.
- Transgender: Caroline's best friend Dani is a trans woman.
- Who Wants to Live Forever?: Caroline's problem is she thinks her life is nightmarish and she has no desire to keep living as she is for what might be eternity. She lets go of this thinking when she stops trying to hold on to the idea of what her life used to be and becomes something different.
- You Are Not Alone: Dani eventually gets through to Caroline by stating she can create a new world for herself without destroying herself, stating Dani did the same thing when she decided to transition.