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. However, their invasion has taken them to New York.
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. Shortly after the wedding of Medusa and King Britain, a Grey Gargoyle from another reality restores Excalibur and the former queen, Megan.
Dr. Doom's history is given as we learn how his mother sacrificed her soul in order to grant her son a prominence that a gypsy boy would never ascend to.
Steve Rogers travels through the Realm of the Dead to attempt to bring The Skull and The Punisher to Paradise to no avail. He is later met by the other guardians as they work together to plot against Mar-Vell who seem unaware of the trouble his new Paradise is causing, Breaking from the group, Daredevil leaves to confront the Kingpin in what looks like an attempt to force him into acknowledging reality.
Uatu is slowly dieing on the Moon as his purpose in life has been taken from him.
Aware of the invasion taking place in his old home, Reed Richards sends Wyatt Wingfoot there to join some other heroes to prevent any harm from coming to the people living in New York.
Brian Braddock and Mega are reunited, and Medusa's place is brought into question. As she departs, not wishing to make an awkward situation worse, she voices her desire to make this as easy as possible to Captain U.K. and Grey Gargoyle. However, unseen to Medusa, the two fuse together to form a birdlike creature and fly away into the night.
The story seems to be catching its breath. The invasion in the Baxter Building seems to be moving awfully slowly. The conspiracy forming in Paradise is similarly taking its time. I certainly hope we don't need to see anymore scenes involving Steve Rogers attempting to convince the same two people that they're dead and that they both have roles to play in Paradise.
It's hard to think of what exactly to say about this issue that would be much of an examination. It feels like a middle issue, it certainly advances the plot, but not in a terribly progressive way. The final two pages focus on Thor and Loki looking out on New York as they congratulate themselves over the success of their plan to free the Asgardians who thought themselves to be dead for Hel. This is something that happened several issues ago in a one shot, what exactly is next for these two anyway? The same could be said for most of the threads in this issue.
I can see that things are happening, but I wish there was a bit more.