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 and they plan to rebel against him. 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 Terrigen Mists. Shortly after the wedding of Medusa and King Britain, a Grey Gargoyle from another reality restores Excalibur and the former queen, Megan leaving Medusa without a husband once again.
Mephisto's role is explained more thoroughly. Whereas Loki was maintained by Odin and his realization that he's an alien granted him freedom, Mephisto finds himself unable to escape the role created for him by everyone across the Earth. As a sort of grand opposition, the illusion that had warped him still maintains its hold and drives him to do evil. With that in mind, it's a lot easier to understand why Mephisto still acts the way he always had. Kyle also reveals the one weapon that could be used to defeat him; Excalibur.
King Britain is expected to choose which of his two wives to keep; Meggan or Medusa. One would be a personal choice, and the other for the good of the world. Also, the Grey Gargoyle's actions are questioned when Brian mentions that this is the first Grey Gargoyle from another reality whose powers have had any effect on his frozen comrades.
Reed tests the serum synthesized from Jude on one of the Daredevils (who are actually Mephisto) and it kills him. The others clamour for the serum to be injected into them as Reed shifts his focus to helping the Negative Zone residents. They, along with the Guardians of the Galaxy, The Law, and X-51's Heralds have all joined together to form a massive army.
In the Realm of the Dead Steve Rogers continues to gain the trust of his parents. As he leaves them he's confronted by Thanos. Frank Castle had actually shot himself last issue, not his family, but the display did little to convince them that they all actually dead. He then goes to his armoury to gather weapons to kill as many people as possible in order to show them that they're already dead.
X-51 is confronted by an Aaron Stack who is completely human and has arrived from another reality. He tells X-51 of how being an artificial man and an organic one are incredibly similar and to cherish his mechanical side for its physical invulnerability.
Jude is freed of his cage by Mephisto and his first action is to attempt to take the life of Sue Richards.
The explanation regarding Mephisto supplants the less satisfying one given by Dr. Strange several issues ago. His role and actions have been given a greater justification and the story can move ahead with his role unencumbered by any logical fallacies. Well, at least it seems that way for now. I'm still not entirely sure why Kyle had waited so long before revealing some of this info, in particular how to defeat Mephisto, but I suppose you can't argue with omniscience. Things are going to start falling into place soon, and if this is any indication, the results should be worth the investment of roughly fifty comics.
The obvious reference to the Birth of Adam is a bit lost on me as X-51 and the Aaron Stack who hails from another reality seem to have a more fraternal relationship. I suppose this could be more a symbolic revelation, one of wisdom being achieved, but a more appropriate image may have been found. Still, that's a minor quibble.
I had never heard of Jude before reading this mini-series, but he's a fairly interesting character. As a manifestation of entropy, he's certainly a character type I'm not terribly familiar with, but he fits into the story oddly well. I'm interested to see how Sue will fare against him, though her earlier point of Reed not allowing her to have a real life definitely echoes her role in the series. She's somewhat emblematic off the old notion that "Wives should be seen, not heard.".
I never thought I'd end a review with that phrase. For the record, I don't agree with it.