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.
With Mephisto dead on Earth, the heroes in Paradise stand ready to confront Mar-Vell.
Loki has decided to reform the Avengers, which is fitting considering he was indirectly responsible for the first incarnation. The founding three members of the original Avengers have their analogues with Loki taking the place of Thor, Black Knight taking the place of Iron Man, and The Reject taking the place of Captain America. As they depart, Loki takes the shape of Thor in red and gold.
Rick Jones joins the guardians of Mar-Vell's Paradise as they ascend into a dark spot in the sky in order to confront Mar-Vell himself. Each of them view Mar-Vell in their own respective way. Rick Jones sees Mar-Vell as he was in his final hours, laying on his bed as cancer ravaged him. Rick takes his hand as Mar-Vell explains how it was his imagination that made those around him heroes, that this was how the Celestial seed inside of him germinated.
Hyperion soars through Paradise, observing the residents of the Negatvie Zone who still live in spite of the Paradise that has enveloped them. Reed Richards is still out of sight.
Hank Pym and Tony Stark find Mar-Vell in the shape of Genis-Vell, oddly identified as Mar-Vell's clone rather than his son. For those who remember, Genis is the son Mar-Vell's lover who impregnated herself with Mar-Vell's genetic material shortly after his death. Since it was Hank Pym and not Mar-Vell who made the mistake, I'll resist the obvious joke about the shortcomings of omniscience. Anyway, Mar-Vell tortures both Pym and Stark by filling them with an intense regret created by their shortcomings to not do as much good as they could have. In the case of Dr. Doom, it's even more severe due to all the evil he has done. Black Bolt seems largely unaffected because of his life as the perfect man and king.
Sue decides it's time to retreat as Paradise comes closer and closer to enveloping them. She hopes Reed will find them from wherever he has gone.
Captain America confronts Mar-Vell who takes the form of himself when he still wore his white and green military uniform. He tempts Cap with the power to rule Paradise to which Cap resolutely refuses. On the ground Hawkeye fires an arrow into the black void and attempts to climb in after the guardians. As he climbs, the arrow comes loose and the charred remains of the guardians fall to the ground. Suddenly, a Kree army appears over the horizon and surround the heroes informing them that the Negative Zone now belongs to their empire by order of the omniscient one, the Supreme Intelligence.
My reaction to this issue can be summed up as: "Wait...what?". Paradise was a large scale plan by the Kree to invade the Negative Zone? Well, I have to say that I don't buy it. For someone to ascend to godhood in the way Mar-Vell has, something like race being such a motivational force is tough to swallow. However, as a plan of the Supreme Intelligence to deduce the movements and choices of Mar-Vell, it would be a rather clever one. Considering how easy it was for me to think up a satisfying twist to this story, I would imagine that the team behind this series should at least have one last trick up their sleeve for the final issue.
I should also add that since Spider-Man won't be appearing in Paradise X: X (because he isn't a major player in the Marvel Universe or something?), there won't be a review for that final issue. It's a bit unfortunate (though the lazy side of me is screaming out in joy) but it would be unfair to either spoil the final issue or examine the series at large with an incomplete perspective. Apologies to all reading this for an incomplete series of reviews, though much of the themes have been touched on in the reviews for previous issues.
One thing I will touch on though is how divinity is presented in this particular issue. Mar-Vell treats his guardians like toys. He tortures them and acts as a divine being of great malevolence. For all the struggles of the heroes against Mephisto, Mar-Vell seems to be just as bad. This could be a commentary on the corrupting nature of power, and how no mortal can ascend to godhood without sacrificing all that has made them human. Mar-Vell's plan has appeared to have undone him, and the victor behind this all appears to be the giant head behind the curtain, the Supreme Intelligence. An inverted Wizard of Oz if I've ever heard of one. Assuming my guess is right of course.*
Sorry, I'm not buying this "revelation". There must surely be more than this.