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.
Mar-Vell's new Paradise is composed of antimatter and resides in the Negative Zone. The guardians he has appointed ensure its expansion is met with little resistance. However, some of its residents don't quite trust Mar-Vell's newly created world and the faith of his guardians has become shaken. Meanwhile, the efforts of the guardians are being challenged by various villains such as Jigsaw and the Jackal who don't have faith in Mar-Vell's vision. Another threat to Paradise is in the shape of Blastaar and Annihilus who don't appreciate the new realm encroaching into their territory, the Negative Zone.
Those still living on the Earth are cursed with immortality and forced to live with grievous wounds being inflicted upon them by Mephisto. The Guardians of the Galaxy have returned to Earth in search of answers as to how so much has changed. Meanwhile Medusa and King Britain prepare for their wedding.
The history of Jean Grey, and by extension Phoenix, is discussed as Kyle recounts her grander purpose in the world. Much like the other Elders of the Universe, Phoenix is working towards the unification of realities, to restore the universe that existed before the manipulations of the Celestials.
In the Realm of the Dead, Frank Castle once again kills Jigsaw and the Jackal and his memory of who he is returns to him.
King Britain and Medusa are finally married and there is a reunion of sorts for various characters. Storm agrees to aid Bloodstorm with a transfusion. Wolverine from the Days of Future Past reality joyfully embraces all the friends he had believed lost. Dr. Strange cures Namor of his flaming half, though the scars left by the flames will always remain. Scott Summers notices Banshee amongst the guests and attacks him, aware that he already dead thanks to the psychic connection he still shares with Phoenix. Banshee slinks away and is revealed to be the Grey Gargoyle.
Annihilus and Blastaar finally make their move and break through the portal in the Negative Zone and find themselves in the Baxter Building.
The guardians continue to question Mar-Vell's plan in Paradise. Deciding that Paradise is still a more viable option than the Realm of the Dead because the realities are at least chosen by each soul, Steve Rogers heads to find the soul of The Skull to bring a mass exodus of souls to Paradise.
The pace of the story seems a little slower in this issue, though enough revelations are made and threads advanced to still ensure that it's a worthwhile and entertaining progression. It was a bit amusing to see a kinder Wolverine so happy to be amongst his fellow X-Men and the other events at the wedding were similarly fun to watch. I suppose I have a soft spot for big group scenes such as this, especially in a series where the characters are constantly scattered across various realities and planes of existence.
Aside from an earlier mention of Eternity being killed and Phoenix's role in Universe X, the more prominent manifestations of power within the Marvel Universe have largely been unheard from. I suppose my bias is once again being exploited as I've always enjoyed their appearances. A brief cameo isn't quite a major role just yet, but that tease of more to come has me anxious to see what role they play. In a series that involves a being who has attained such an ultimate power, it would only be natural for the Elders of the Universe to show up at some point.
I just love a wedding...when I don't have to physically be there.