Cosmic Union (The Directors' Cut) Issue #3
Written and edited by the Silver Surfer
Introduction (by Azmodi)
What can be said that will not be a less eloquent repetition of that which has already been stated? The Cosmic Union was a momentous effort that bettered everyone who participated in creating it. As I read each part, day after day, week after week, I watched as all the writers involved improved their skills greatly, often easily eclipsing those "professionals" who helm mainstream comics at Marvel and DC today. Though my own contribution to the Cosmic Union was small, I am still more than proud to be counted among its co-authors.
The mere fact that the Union has blossomed into this very fanzine is a testament to its cohesion and vision. Few other round robin fan-fictions could hope to aspire to such soaring heights. From the one we now have such diverse tales as the Star Masters, Gods and Monsters, and the Timeless, further reinforcing the notion that the Cosmic Union became even more than the sum of its already formidable parts. What the writers of this epic have built shall endure for a long time to come, and I count myself lucky to have been here since its inception.
ISSUE #3: "BATTLE LINES"
Cosmic Union Writers from the Silver Surfer
Message Board: Asterisk, Anomaly,
Azmodi, Brother Voodoo, Grim, Marvelite, Morfex, Mystic, and Number 6.
Part One - A Difference of Opinion (Anomaly & Morfex)
Warlock was sitting on Doctor Strange's Sanctum roof, floating just above its surface when his eyes suddenly opened. "What do you want, Captain?"
Captain America's eyes narrowed, and his fists clenched tightly. "I'm getting a little tired of you're attitude, mister! Earth's heroes aren't exactly helpless!"
"You are correct, in such matters they are far less than that." Warlock spoke coolly, giving away not a hint of emotion. He turned to face the Sentinel of Liberty.
Then, from one moment to the next, Captain America noted something changed about the golden-hued man before him. "Do you not realize that every delay you cause me costs our universe precious moments?" The Soul gem upon his brow began to glow, and hints of emotion did start to surface. Warlock began to clench his teeth... fists as well, breathing heavily; his eyes began to glow, smoldering like a red-hot coal. Clearly, his emotional control waned around such passions. Captain America had never seen Warlock like this. "Do you wish to see how helpless you truly are?" Warlock struck out at Cap, but the greatest hero of World War II effortlessly avoided it, and was already poised for the counter-attack.
"Warlock " Cap's reflexes reacted instantly, just avoiding a kick to his head. "You're fast, Warlock, I'll give you that..."
Warlock was upon him instantly, knocking him to the ground. Cap used the momentum to fling Warlock off, but he landed on his feet. Cap stood up in one seamless motion. For a moment, they just stared into each other's eyes.
For once, instead of indifference, Cap saw in Adam Warlock the eyes of a man just like himself, with a common goal, and common emotions. But he thought he saw desperation too and a man attempting to cling to his sanity. "Is this why you maintain such a guarded distance?"
Warlock nodded, brought his hands to his face and tried to regain control of his erratic passions. The soul gem dimmed, and Adam's rapid breathing slowed. "You see, Captain, I am capable of such emotions, but I have no experience wielding them. They simply do not contribute to our current chances for success. Thus do I keep them deeply buried during this time of trial."
"That can't be healthy," responded the Captain. " I need to know your state of mind can be counted on when we need you during this crisis."
"Captain, my emotional evolution is a recent and ongoing process. I simply cease that process temporarily for my part in the coming conflict. Should we survive this once we survive this challenge, my ultimate goal, ironically, is to be as emotionally balanced as you are. You are the ideal leader of men, Captain. I am the reluctant leader of supermen. Can we leave it at that for now?"
Captain America's misgivings were somewhat allayed for the time being. His concerns were balanced by a desire to have Adam Warlock succeed in his quest for a normal human psyche. He also recognized Warlock's pivotal part in past cosmic dramas. He reached out his open-palm to the former Supreme Being. The two men shook hands.
Adam thought, as Cap walked away. "That little scenario was the quickest means of getting him out of my way. Now on to important matters."
Part Two - A Cold Pyre (Azmodi)
A cold smile spread across the Dark Phoenix's face as she burned all of the Elders of the Universe in the same cold pyre of space. Before her wicked power, the atoms of the golden-skinned Runner shattered, their nuclei exploding with cosmic energy. Like a vampire she drained his discorporate body of the intoxicating Power Primordial, and added it to her already incalculable might.
The recently resurrected Trader, Astronomer, and Possessor soon fell too before her assault, for they were still not reacquainted with the ways of the flesh. The addition of that trio's Primordial energy made her task of utterly obliterating both the Obliterator and the Champion relatively simple. With their combined might absorbed, Dark Phoenix made short work of the likes of Caregiver, Judicator, the Explorer and the Architect.
Together the Gardener and the Contemplator attempted flight, but burning lances tore through their midsections and soon they as well were reduced to little more than discorporate and damaged particles.
The Collector put up a far more admirable struggle, lasting nearly a minute before succumbing to the Dark Phoenix's furious attack. His might, his energy, was the most potent and delicious of all thus far.
Finding no more targets to utterly decimate, the Dark Phoenix's unholy fires quieted and with her shining eyes she looked across the black vastness of space, finding nothing but the unconscious non-forms of the Elders of the Universe. Immortal they truly were, yet it would be a great span before they could even consider revenging themselves upon her.
"The Titan moves more quickly than even I had anticipated," came a flat voice from behind the cosmic deity. "I will have to take care not to underestimate him any further."
The Dark Phoenix whirled; her own incredible powers coming to life once again, bolstered by the pilfered might of the Power Primordial.
"Grandmaster... you yet survive. That is an oversight I shall remedy - with the energy I have stolen from your own so-called siblings!" She stretched out her hand to utterly shatter the unscathed form of the cosmic games-man. Yet nothing occurred. She felt no rush of energy; she did not see the Grandmaster explode into base atoms and molecules as the others had. "What? My my abilities ... I cannot call upon the might of the Phoenix!" she exclaimed with both terror and surprise.
The Grandmaster smiled coldly, "The Power Primordial dwells within you now, and in a great preponderance. There is no one in the universe entire who knows how to manipulate that elemental energy so deftly as I, Dark Phoenix." His eyes widened, "You, and all your great power, are now mine."
Her mouth opened to shout in defiance, but no words came from the throat of the Dark Phoenix. Blackness tumbled across her eyes and feeling deserted her body.
His siblings were not easily subdued by brute force as Thanos had previously learned. * (*See Thanos Quest for details.) He must further investigate the means by which the Phoenix entity had weakened them to the point of becoming capable of defeat, as well as why he had remained largely unaffected. In exchange for this new thrall, the Grandmaster had lost the aid of the other Elders of the Universe. Yet somehow he reasoned he had still come out ahead in this little portion of the great cosmic game being played.
Part Three - A Vow Fulfilled (Morfex)
Months before, by human standards, Galactus had avoided the once-inevitable Ultimate Nullification caused by Morg and Tyrant by sidestepping into an alternate dimension. His trans-dimensional travels had taken him to several planes of existence, one of which contained the lost Infinity Gems along with the long-missing seventh Ego gem. Galactus had gathered the seven gems, only to lose one again to Adam Warlock. Inevitably, Galactus had returned to the Universe he knew best.
Now, as Galactus withdrew his collection of six gems, he witnessed their sentience evaporate as he had witnessed that of his siblings. For were not Mind, Space, Time, Power, Reality, and Ego naught but Abstract concepts? Unlike certain containers, the gems proved to be imperfect vessels for the dimensional properties within them. They became powerless baubles, though remaining potential receptacles for vast energies, and for their Abstracts' return. Any semblance of sentience held within the gems had dissipated to temporary nonexistence, simply abstract concepts once more. The fate of the so-called "Soul Gems," the Infinity Gems that had caused his brother Eternity so much anxiety, was in his hands.
Galactus remembered the last Union, how mad Tyrant had taken the opportunity to attempt to seize power over all planes of existence. It was no coincidence that Tyrant had returned in recent months. He too had known of the Union's cyclical nature. Tyrant would soon return from Oblivion, Galactus knew, and would still play a vital role.
Galactus also knew that nature abhors a vacuum. What new pretenders would rise to position themselves to the greatest advantage during the dimensional turmoil? Galactus knew the next few WAVES would determine the course of existence. Manipulators would try to find a means of utilizing talismans of power such as the Infinity gems, even empty and devoid of energy as they were.
One by one, Galactus utterly and irrevocably destroyed the lifeless, powerless gems with energy beams that sprang forth from his hands, eyes, and mouth. Galactus' act was final. The sentient Infinity concepts were now permanently abstract, without consciousness. "And so, Brother Eternity, my vow to you is fulfilled. No more will these six gems threaten you. As for the seventh gem maintaining the Abstract Soul Being... well, like myself and the newest Phoenix, that Abstract's tie to its physical host is a bond I cannot sever. Despite the gem's inherent flaws, the Abstract Soul has escaped the Union for now, but stronger WAVES build..."
Part Four - Master Delegation (Mystic)
Thanos raised his hand to quiet the attendees of the Victory Hall. They had all been given assignments and were arguing on how to proceed. Gradually they silenced themselves, as it was evident that Thanos would now speak. "All of you have been given assignments according to your strengths and domains. For example," he turned to face the Asgardian, "Loki has taken on the task of keeping Thor from bringing Asgard back into the fray before we are ready to deal with its inhabitants."
"Where did Asgard go?" Korvac asked.
"Most of the pantheon gods have a safety mechanism for their worlds. If neighboring dimensions come too close, they shunt themselves into a protected space, a perfect dimensional container, if you will, until the danger passes. It keeps them protected from dimensional predators...like you Dormammu," Thanos said with a smirk on his face.
Loki gasped, "That information is privy to gods and gods alone! How came thee to know of such a thing?" Loki stood up angrily, pounding a fist on the table, demanding an answer.
Thanos walked up to him until his face was mere inches in front of Loki's. "There is precious little I do not know in this universe," he said almost in a whisper. The tone and form were mocking, yet intolerant. Thanos would not take kindly to being interrupted again. Loki sat down without another word, though clearly still infuriated.
"Korvac?" Thanos said, still staring at Loki.
"What?" Korvac answered.
Thanos turned his head quickly at him and stared almost with astonishment.
Korvac cleared his throat, "Yes, Lord Thanos?"
A pause occurred as Thanos walked to the center of the circle. "You and Maelstrom will attack the Earth."
"May I ask why Earth?" The Deviant/Inhuman hybrid Maelstrom questioned.
"Earth is a focal point. A nexus of realities," Mephisto answered him. "It is only logical that control of this nexus point will allow us to prolong the Union and open all dimensional barriers permanently!"
"We have no more time for explanations. We must proceed with the plan. Due to certain information leaks, we no longer have the advantage of surprise on our side," Thanos eyed each member of the gathering for a reaction, then continued. "Dormammu, you will work to synchronize the Union to our Universe and keep it synchronized. If we hold it long enough, we should be able to force all the dimensional barriers to resonate at the same universal frequency as ours, thereby changing the nature of those dimensions into that of our universe."
"Is that possible?" Korvac asked.
Thanos did not answer him. "Magus, my former nemesis, you are my wildcard. I needed someone in case our mutual adversary Adam Warlock or some other mystical entity was to get involved. Your unknowable fate combined with mine creates a stronger sphere of anti-omniscience than mine would alone. Your job will be to counter Warlock at every turn, while I attend to details of the plan." Thanos looked around the room.
"What about the Dark Phoenix and the other empty seat?" Mephisto asked.
"Lady Phoenix has already left to begin her task, as has our final ally. As should you all." With that said, Thanos walked over to the hall entrance. "I will be in contact," he said as the doors opened and he walked through. "The operation has officially begun," were his parting words as the door closed behind him. Each member got up and ready to begin their tasks, still eyeing each other suspiciously after Thanos' revelation of a potential informant in their midst.
With all the others departed, Mephisto turned to Korvac. "I thought you were dead for the umpteenth time, man of the future."
Korvac looked into the eyes of the devil before him. "My biological status is no concern of yours, demon. Begone!"
Mephisto hissed malevolently. "I only have myself to blame. Nearly a decade of apparent defeats, withdrawals, and humiliations have served my purposes, but not my reputation." Suddenly Korvac found himself swimming in fire. His limbs appeared as charred logs. Mephisto grew to the size of a city by comparison. In a voice that seared Korvac to the marrow, Mephisto spoke. "BUT NO MORE! THINK WELL ON THIS, MORTAL "
Korvac gasped in shock and fear, only to find himself alone again in the Victory Hall. Mephisto and the others were nowhere to be seen.
CONTINUED IN CPU #4.
Look for more of the Cosmic Union Saga in the next issue of Cosmic Powers Unlimited. Also new this week in the Cosmic Union continuity, Star Masters #1, Tales of the Timeless #3, and Protectors of the Universe Spotlight #4: Featuring Oblivion! Be sure to also check out the new Cosmic Unionverse Page for details about the Cosmic Union continuity, as it begins to shape into a whole new cosmic universe of Marvel characters! Now be sure to leave us some comments and suggestions!
|Cover and Introduction||Cosmic Powers Unlimited Issue #3||Send
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