Paradise X #0

Background

Mar-Vell has killed Death and built a heaven for all the fallen heroes. X-51 has made every alternate Earth aware of the Celestial embryo dwelling within it. Set some time after the events of Universe X, the world seems to be in a state of stability and the dead are finally being granted their reward. However, even paradise has a price.

Story Details

  Paradise X #0
Summary: Peter Parker & Venom (May) Cameo
Editor: Mike Marts
Co-Plot/Cover: Alex Ross
Writer: Jim Krueger
Pencils: Doug Braithwaite
Inker: Bill Reinhold

Steve Rogers walks through the streets of his hometown, the time period is a few years after the first world war. He meets his parents, younger than he ever knew them, and a sickly brother who must have passed away before he was born. He's there to convince them that they're actually dead, that they live in an illusory world. As he leaves them, he ascends to the sky with newly grown wings, hoping he'll soon be able to convince them of that so he can bring them to the Paradise he now protects.

After this introduction, we're given a brief recap as to the purpose of Mar-Vell's large search for various artefacts around the Marvel Universe. The two tomes which would create the images of humanity in Paradise, the Eye and Orb of Agamotto to find the other objects, the Dimensional Door to reach Paradise, the Emotio-Box to help calm the residents who have trouble adjusting, the Reanimator Stone to revive those still in Death's Realm, and the Cosmic Cube which would be used to create a myriad of worlds for the inhabitants to live within. These, as well as a few other objects, gave Mar-Vell an omniscience that showed him how to defeat Death and how to create Paradise and the power to make it happen. In a sense, Mar-Vell has become God.

Steve returns to the small plot of land to meet the various people who prepare themselves for their trip to Paradise. Heroes and villains alike are all welcomed into Paradise, although some are more suspicious than others. Bucky says his farewells, telling Steve that he deserves a place in Paradise more than anyone else. Instead, Steve will act as a guardian, accompanied by Black Bolt, Iron Man, Phoenix, Dr. Doom, and Giant Man. The seventh guardian is Daredevil, although he appears to be no more than Matthew Murdock now without the angelic appearance of the others. He distributes small pieces of the Cosmic Cube to everyone and they all ascend into their own personal Paradise. The role of the guardians is to protect this ever expanding Paradise as it fills itself with the personal realities of each person. Paradise resides in the Negative Zone, and as it expands, its residents take exception to their territory being encroached upon.

On the Moon, X-51 is confronted by some unseen assailants who attack Uatu and demand information on what has happened in the last 30 years. X-51 gives us a recap of the events on Earth in Earth X and Universe X; how the Celestial Embryo was destroyed and anarchy was averted.

Back in New York, Cyclops and Phoenix exercise their psychic link as Scott reports on what's happening within the city. The torches, which had been used to burn the Terrigen Mists once present in the atmosphere, have been toppled and are now hospitals. The still living people on the Earth have been given immortality with the destruction of Death, but because of that, the mortally wounded are forced to live in extremely painful conditions. The hospitals exist to repair what damage they can, the entire effort being spearheaded by Dr. Strange.

Elsewhere across the Earth, Sunfire prepares for a special mission with his personal body guards, the Silver Samurai robots created by Tony Stark. In England, King Britain and Medusa prepare for a marriage that will hopefully unite the population of the Earth. Iron Maiden leaves to help rescue Cable from his prison in the Savage Land with the aid of the Iron Avengers. Peter and May Parker are introduced to a new member of The Law, New York's peace keeping unit. Hell's Kitchen has a new protector in the shape of Nightcrawler, who still has the physical appearance of Belasco. Thor, now aware of himself as one of the formless aliens, works with Loki to bring Surtur to their side in a battle against Odin.

Steve Rogers travels back to the realm of the dead to bring his parents to Paradise when a stranger confronts him. His right eye emits a glow as he attempts to convince those around them that they're already dead.

On the moon, X-51's attackers are revealed to be the Guardians of the Galaxy.

General Comments

Whew, that's one heck of a way to kick off a series. Several new threads are established and doubt is cast upon all that was built up in the last two parts of the trilogy. Mar-Vell's Paradise seems to come at an awfully high price. Not only is it taking up space in a foreign realm, but it effectively forces its residents to enjoy their stay by manipulating their emotions.

The series has been toppling or undermining gods and demons such as the Celestials, the Asgardians, and Mephisto. Now, Mar-Vell is a self-made deity, and he seems to be destined for the same sort of downfall. It should prove interesting to see how this plays out for him.

The Guardians of the Galaxy seem to be the wild cards in this series. Aside from the Skrull and Kree, very few aliens have really been showcased in the X series, so it'll be interesting to see how the more cosmic scale of this final chapter will work.

The artwork seems especially sharp. The pencils appear to have more detail and the colouring is top notch. Steve Rogers as an angel is a really tough look to capture, but the art team manages to pull that and several other challenges off very well. It really completes overall package.

Overall Rating

Great start to the series.