Universe X: X

Background

Isaac Christians has been chronicling the prophesies of Kyle Richmond. Viewing the past, present, and future, the two work to record the events transpiring three years after the lighting of the first Human Torch which so far include the resurrection of the Invisible Woman and the journey of Captain America and the newly reborn Captain Mar-Vell to collect various artefacts of the Marvel Universe. The quest ultimately leads Cap to his death.

Under the guise of Mr. Chruch, Mephisto begins to make his move as he seizes the followers of the Church of Immortus and uses Kyle's prophesies to help the Tong of Creel find all the pieces of Absorbing Man. Peter Parker, in an effort to preserve New York's Human Torch, offers Spiders Man a chance to join his side. Mar-Vell's has plan has also been revealed, he wants to kill Death and create heaven.

Reed Richards is confronted by those who were mutated by the Terrigen Mists to more horrific ends than most others. Reed is also met by Iron Maiden and Loki who have the means of recreating the Earth's lost mass. As Isaac dies in Kyle's arms, Mar-Vell arrives to take him and Machine Man into his group. Meanwhile Mar-Vell's army in the land of the dead crumbles as Death convinces them that they still live. But not all is lost as Mar-Vell reveals to Mephisto in New York that his existence is the greatest lie of all.

Story Details

  Universe X: X
Summary: Peter Parker & Venom Cameos
Editor: Mike Marts
Co-Plot/Cover: Alex Ross
Writer: Jim Krueger
Pencils: Doug Braithwaite
Inker: Bill Reinhold

As Mephisto flees, Kyle's eyes are taken by Mar-Vell. He then travels with Thor to find the Silver Surfer to request the final item in his quest for the Cosmic Consciousness; the Power Cosmic.

Vision confronts Absorbing Man, and for the first time since being restored Absrobing Man speaks. Apparently absorbing the intelligence of Ultron doesn't give you the power to use proper grammar. Vision forces his power to phase into Creel who then finds himself permanently stuck as an intangible ghost.

In the land of the dead, Mar-Vell's body becomes whole and he falls to the ground unconscious. Mephisto arrives to kill the minds of Mar-Vell's less tangible allies such as Ms. Marvel and Nova. Apparently their living bodies were trapped in the Negative Zone, preventing them from being noticed by Death. The same cannot be said for Mephisto however. After they fall, Mephisto convinces the last of Mar-Vell's army that they still live and they wander off as Dr. Strange's astral form pleads for them to remember.

The Silver Surfer attempts to walk through the young Mar-Vell's cloak, but instead passes right though it. Absorbing Man's fate seems to have befallen everyone. While Absorbing Man stands enraged and the world looms closer to destruction, Peter Parker and his daughter May tell a few truly awful jokes As we all know, the worse the joke, the worse the situation.

Reed Richards and a few others blast off into space, apparently deciding that the world cannot be saved.

In the land of the dead, a final glory charge is mounted by Captain America who had apparently gathered as many heroes as possible when he passed on, knowing of his own death by looking into the eyes of Mar-Vell. Still, without the completed Cosmic Consciousness, their charge is in vain.

Loki confronts Vision and tells him that the only salvation the world has is if he turns Absorbing Man back into a solid state. He begrudgingly does so and this enables the Silver Surfer to walk into Mar-Vell's cloak, completing Mar-Vell's quest. Loki and Iron Maiden fly to Absrobing Man to request that he take the form of Vibranium to fill the Earth's core with a substance dense enough to restore some kind of orbit. Creel is unwilling at first, but Loki convinces him when tells him that this will save the life of the only person he's ever loved; Titania. He becomes Vibranium and Iron Maiden makes the Earth whole once more.

In the land of the dead, Mar-Vell is reborn and he confronts Mephisto with the truth that he was one of the formless aliens. Mephisto cowers in fear as he learns the futility of his struggle and Mar-Vell produces the Ultimate Nullifier. Mar-Vell then tells Thanos of the truth of his origin, of Death pretending to take the shape of his mother to take him as a servant and that his mother was actually a Skrull whose body was hidden once his father learned the truth after she died. Mar-Vell gives Thanos the Nullifier and he turns it on Death. She speaks her only word of "Wait" as Thanos kills her. Mar-Vell reveals that all which remains is to build heaven, but to thank him for his troubles first, Mar-Vell sends Dr. Strange's astral form back to its living body.

Dr. Strange wakes in Japan to find that the Earth was saved two months before. Reed Richards returns back to Earth and is confronted by Kang who wishes to apologize to him. Mar-Vell shows Titannia the giant statue of Absorbing Man left in New York after his sacrifice. In Britain, King Britain proposes to Medusa to unify the kingdoms of Britain and the Inhumans. Nightcrawler wonders why his fellow X-Men have yet to redeem him as he watches them in the newly rebuilt city in the Savage Land. Captain America's face is carved into Mount Rushmore with the help of Alicia Masters and the Thing. Kyle pays his respects to the grave of Isaac when he touches the Cosmic Consciousness and becomes what looks like the new 3-D Man. Machine Man reveals his new plan as well, to remove the Celestial embryos from the planets of every reality. The series ends with Mar-Vell opening the gate to his newly created heaven for all the fallen heroes and Thor once again becomes a man as he questions his very nature.

General Comments

I suppose it would be redundant to say a lot of stuff happened in this one.

As Universe X draws to a close, the Earth is once again saved and even Death itself has been vanquished. The triumph of Mar-Vell is a big one, and it ends with a large sense of optimism. The role of how one's environment shapes their self image is very much a part of how this struggle was fought with the various surroundings effecting each character.

Reed Richards comes off as a failure in this story, a role usually reserved for Dr. Doom. As Reed mentions the history of the castle, it's hard not to imagine that living there has in a way shaped Reed's expectations that he too will fail. It seems that whomever stays within Castle Doom is destined to play only a losing role in the struggle.

In the realm of the dead, the heroes ironically believe that they live. The only way for them to be defeated is to believe that they live and submit to their environment of futility by engaging in a never ending battle.

The hope represented by the Human Torches is embodied by the people that maintain them. The fact that it burned longest in New York shows how the characters there had the strength to persevere for the longest time. It's no surprise that the world was saved from that location, and not merely because that's how it always works in the Marvel Universe.

The only weakness I can comfortably point out was the villains in this piece. Death's origin isn't completely revealed to a satisfactory degree. We know she's from the previous cycle of time, although this may just mean another reality, but her role is never completely explained. She watches her realm and ensures a cycle continues, but if she can be killed, shouldn't she also have a birth? Absorbing Man's lack of intelligence is also a bit distressing, but this is more of a minor quibble.

Overall, this was an enjoyable series. Far more than a struggle alone, the ideas presented within regarding a person's will, grand cosmic roles, and how we shape the world around us are all fascinating pursuits.

Overall Rating

As a whole, this series would get a 5, but that wouldn't be possible for this issue considering its flaws. However, this is definitely an example of the pieces amounting to more than the whole.