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. 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. Reed Richards enters the Negative Zone to address the problems Mar-Vell seems unaware of.
Those still living on the Earth are cursed with immortality and forced to live with grievous wounds being inflicted upon them by Mephisto. Jude, the Entropic Man who had been captured by Reed Richards, has been freed by Mephisto and now walks across the Earth bringing death to those who have been denied it. Mephisto has also used Excalibur (the only sword that can still take a life) to kill King Britain who had recently decided to honour his marriage to Medusa.
X-51 speaks of alternate realities, and how time travels more slowly in each respective one, much in the way rings around a tree expand further and further from the centre. So in an alternate timeline such as the Ultimate universe where Peter has been stuck as a teenager for a long while, time in the regular Marvel universe moves forward more rapidly and Peter is already an adult. X-51 tells all of this to Vance Astro to dissuade him from trying to travel back into the future as it would merely create another timeline. The only safe way to travel between points in timelines involves using the World Ash in Asgard, or going to critical periods only known to Watchers. Vance seems convinced not to meddle with the time line and X-51 prepares Uatu so that he may find some peace in death.
The souls of the dead are reunited as Captain America returns from his trip with the Skull which had showed them the error in living in a private Paradise. Old friends are reunited, preferring to live the lie that at least keeps them together in the Realm of the Dead.
Mephisto sits on the King Britain's old throne as the deviants around him cheer him on. X-51 appears in front of Medusa and tells her of his plan to reclaim Excalibur. Meanwhile, Mephisto calls out the Reject and has the deviants attack him before finishing him off with Excalibur.
Phoenix tells Cyclops that Paradise was never a space, but rather Mar-Vell himself who has been aware of all that has been transpiring. Reed's lifeline snaps as he falls into Paradise. Hyperion flies into Paradise to save Reed.
The excitement is still rather subdued in this issue. Ultimately, the issue closes with the impression that this is all going according to Mar-Vell's plan. I'm hoping the last four issues will revise that, or at least do it in a way that's a little more satisfying than it all being a plan that was executed to perfection.
The scene involving Daredevil in the Realm of the Dead evokes the impression that the street level heroes always seem to fight the more insignificant battles while the more global ones handle the real threats. Daredevil fighting Bullseye and The Punisher while the heroes assemble to confront Mar-Vell feels like watching Spider-Man fighting The Shocker while the Fantastic Four face off against Galactus. Daredevil's victory is essentially a personal one, and I suppose it shows how priorities can be shifted in the face of a grand event, but it still feels like an effort to put even more characters into this story without adding all that much to it. Perhaps I just haven't given the scene enough thought, but it wasn't as effective as I'm guessing it was supposed to be.
I really hope this starts to pick up soon. A series that's been so entertaining deserves a better finish than this.