Cosmic Union (The Directors' Cut) Issue #4
Written and edited by the Silver Surfer
Introduction (by Anomaly)
Greetings all, and welcome to the fourth installment of
Cosmic Union. As you know, it was started as a Message Board thread, by our resident
verisimilitude expert, Morfex, and our Warlock expert, Mystic. According to Morfex, my
anomalous chapter on Chaos and Order inspired the whole Abstract dissipation thing. He
also said that when someone like myself began to write, it inspired everyone else to write
also. And wow, talk about the whole being greater than the sum of all the parts! It was as
if we were writing with one mind. I could go on for hours about writers like Grim (who is,
in my opinion, the cosmic Bruce Willis, heh, heh).
There were other writers that showed their genius, too. Brother Voodoo's analytical prose could put a textbook to shame (check him out)! There was, of course, Azmodi, whose chapter on the Elders will send chills down your spine. He writes like Jim Starlin, but he is just a youth (I am so jealous). Then there was this mysterious "*" (asterisk) guy who wrote a mean Mephisto. Let's just put it this way, Clive Barker move over, there is a new name in terror. If I missed anybody I am sorry. You will have to excuse me, my senility is acting up again (heh, heh).
In conclusion, I feel that this is a great outlet for young writers to perfect there skills while at the same time, give some eager fans some good old fashion cosmic entertainment. Thanks to Marvelite, who wrote a Shalla Bal scene that made me have to brush back a tear, and all his work on Cosmic Powers; if it were not for him none of this would have been possible.
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.
From his hover-chair, Professor Xavier looked with genuine concern at the haggard features of his old friend Doctor Stephen Strange as he entered the study. "Stephen, would the X-Men be put to better use elsewhere? I am unsure what our role in this unfolding drama is."
Strange responded promptly. "Warlock has had a second visitation, briefer than the last one. The astral figure's words in this particular vision were cryptic, but relevant to your presence here: 'From the ashes, the dark Phoenix has arisen.' It seems the unknown informant was cut short, perhaps detected."
"I will contact several of the X-Men's semi-active associates who were involved in the Phoenix's previous incarnation. Perhaps they can be of help." Professor Xavier placed his fingertips to his forehead.
Cyclops and Phoenix mind-linked with Professor Xavier through the Constant rapport they shared. The sensation was a welcome one, a level of comfort between all involved that could only have been earned through years of trust. They were, in all but the traditional sense, a family.
Prof. X began. "Jean, Scott, the active members of the X-Men and I are at the Sanctum Sanctorum of Doctor Strange. It is clear to us now that the Phoenix Entity has taken a new host and is part of a massive threat to the fabric of reality. It has been suggested that you two, despite your inactive status, are candidates in an effort to repel this onslaught. Err... forgive my choice of words..."
Jean spoke up. "Forgive us, Charles, but that sad chapter is behind us. If Rachel were here, I would suggest her, but as things stand, I don't believe we would have as much influence on the entity as you suggest. You know we are dedicated to the cause, but the Phoenix force would laugh us off given the years that have passed since our last... real encounter. As a last resort, perhaps, but... Who are the other candidates?"
Prof. X clarified. "Gladiator was mentioned. Adam Warlock has suggested that our strike force should consist of heroic counterparts, true adversaries of the villains involved in the crisis."
Jean responded. "Well, Gladiator certainly has firsthand experience with the Phoenix, and the cosmic power levels to make a difference. If he is willing, he should be the first choice."
Scott added a thought, a tactician's mind even in retirement. "Perhaps someone could discover who the Phoenix is using as a host this time and counter that person with their greatest enemy instead..."
"The Titan is not yet aware of our machinations?" asked a radiant female being, her eyes gleaming with ferocity.
The Magus shook his head, although since he existed as nothing save an astral spirit at the moment, he truly had no head to shake. The Dimensional Void was not kind to the flesh.
"I do not believe he is even aware of your resurrection, Goddess." the darker shade of Adam Warlock replied. "It seems he does not know that when he retrieved me from the Soul Gem, so too did he retrieve you. That gives us a distinct advantage."
He smiled widely, revealing perfect ivory teeth.
The Goddess' optics narrowed, her face betraying her own loathing for the being before her. "Overconfidence is your weakness, Magus. All those who underestimated Thanos in the past are beaten ... or dead. I do not intend to share their fate."
The seeming good humor which the Magus had formerly possessed Slipped away readily, revealing cold anger beneath, "We have serving us the only man who has ever truly defeated the Titan, Goddess.
Against both him and ourselves, Thanos has truly no defense." His voice was filled with deadly earnest. "The Titan is weak, Goddess, small and petty. He thinks he knows himself, but he does not. Overcoming him shall not be as difficult as it may seem."
"You are a fool to believe Warlock will follow our spectral messages blindly. If we direct him to commit some grievous action, he will not follow through, and we will be faced with not only combating Thanos, but Adam as well." She sneered. "This game is dangerous and complex, Magus. I do not like it."
"Perhaps you would rather attempt to destroy the universe with a chain reaction of super-novae, then?" he spat in reply. "Your child-like stratagems will keep neither the Earthen heroes nor the Titan occupied long enough for us to seize the power of the Union for ourselves."
The Goddess' mouth opened to reply, but her shadow cut her off coldly with his own words. "It is time we fed dear Adam one last bit of knowledge; we can't have him wandering off the trail, can we?"
Grudgingly she nodded, and slowly reached out her hand to touch the Magus'. Instantly their energies mingled and merged, and soon a single being hovered in the void, in place of the previous two. It was a familiar form and countenance this creature wore: the face and features of Adam Warlock.
With a thought this individual, the sum total of the good and evil within Adam Warlock, yet without the body or soul to contain those primal elements, willed a gray cloak around itself, concealing its visage totally.
Slowly it reached out, masking its dual identity, and sought the familiar mind of the being it had once been. Soon contact had been established between the mysterious specter and his unwitting ally, and another detail of the Titan's plan was laid plain before the Machiavellian hero's eyes...
Part Three - Reunion (Morfex)
"Adam Warlock, this is our final visitation. The mad Titan begins to suspect; the risk of exposure can no longer be afforded. In our first vision, we told you to gather the Eight. In our second we told you the mastermind behind the crisis was Thanos, and that the Dark Phoenix was involved. With this final visitation we leave you with a puzzle, for that is all we dare reveal... 'Watch for the WAVES of Union'..." The figure dissipated once more leaving Adam to ponder the words and the achingly familiar identity of the mysterious cloaked stranger.
Adam Warlock and Stephen Strange looked on as one of the universe's most powerful beings prepared to assault the Earth. It was Korvac, cosmic leech, who once stole great Galactus' world ship energies. Korvac headed toward Earth
Dr. Strange and Warlock hit Korvac with a considerable assault of powerful energies, despite the future dictator not even looking. His energy defenses automatically cancelled their effect.
"Ha, ha, ha! I do not know why Thanos put so much stock in you, golden gnat. And as for you, strange, it shall be enjoyable killing your loved ones before your very eyes!" Korvac's eyes glowed crimson as Warlock and Strange were entrapped in an unbreakable energy sphere. "I have turned your much vaunted energies against you. My sphere will prove sufficiently powerful to hold you until I complete my task. We are prepared for every eventuality, my powerless foes." Korvac lowered his defenses, convinced that his assailants were contained.
"Truly?" said Adam Warlock. Suddenly Korvac saw that without warning a humanoid being seemed to leap from the soul gem. It was Captain America, who emerged outside the sphere's area of containment. The Captain struck Korvac with his energy shield, and the man from the future fell backward. The containment sphere began to flicker and dissipate.
Captain America turned to his Allies. "QUICKLY, STRANGE! USE THE EYE, NOW!" With the all-seeing Eye of Agamotto, Doctor Strange was able to drive Korvac away, at least temporarily.
Doctor Strange turned to the Sentinel of Liberty. "My good Captain. This time you will not be a mere sheep, but a major player."
Part Cap Gambit Revisited (Morfex)
Steve Rogers did not know why he programmed the holographic display to project such a scenario. As he powered down the Avengers training room, he felt ashamed at his need to escape the powerlessness of his situation. In many ways, Warlock was an affront to everything he believed in, that every man can make a difference. But Doctor Strange was a trusted friend, and
Why had he Chosen Korvac for his exercise? Was it his recent conflict with the future dictator; was it Starhawk's appearance? Or was it a premonition of some kind?
The astral figure had said eight beings of power. Eight, and one other.
"Wait," said Captain America to himself aloud. "The astral figure! That is how I can make a difference!" He stormed from the training room with the single-mindedness of a true hero.
It took some searching, but Genis-Vell, the man currently bearing the name Captain Marvel, was finally located and brought to Doctor Strange with a little help from Lila Cheney teleportational abilities.
And so the gathered heroes sat at a round table in the Sanctum Sanctorum of Earth's Sorcerer Supreme to face each other as Allies united for a common cause. Doctor Strange, the Silver Surfer, Thor, Quasar, Captain Marvel, Gladiator, Starhawk, and Adam Warlock were all present.
Quasar was the first to speak up. "This is so cool! We have GOT to give ourselves a name or something. How about 'Cosmic Defenders'?" The Surfer responded with a stern look. Quasar contained his enthusiasm for the moment.
With Doctor Strange's nod of approval, Starhawk was the first to address the gathering. "Many of you here may not know me. My past is complex. In months past, the being known as Kismet sought to find the ideal mate. She created a fetus-like growth on the back of several male heroes, including Quasar. * (*See the Quasar series for details.) When she had made her choice of mates, the pod-like growths fell off and dissipated into organic waste.
But to no one's knowledge at the time, the DNA matrices had mixed in one of the pods. That sloughed pod became a cocoon as was typical for its mother's breed. I emerged from that cocoon as a full-grown male only weeks ago. Confused but cosmically powered, I searched the vast reaches of time and space for my origins and made contact with Stakar, the Starhawk of the 31st Century. He gave me the gift of his memories, but not his omniscience. I know several of you through your interactions with him, but I am truly of this modern age. My communication with the future was interrupted by a cosmic wave of unknown origin. I decided to follow it and it led me to my encounter with Thor in Asgard.
"I believe I am here for a reason, to counter my future self's enemy, Korvac. Quasar, I do not mean to complicate matters, but I feel you have the right to know that you are my father."
Mephisto drank deeply from his favorite cup of souls. He pondered his current circumstances, and recalled his past interaction with Thanos. He and Adam Warlock had attempted to humiliate him, but things had changed since then. Thanos no longer bore the Reality Gem, and Adam and he were no longer allies.
But Mephisto did not have any misconceptions about their souls. Their souls were there own. Adam's was practically not worth the taking, lacking both good and evil. And Thanos... well, put one way, Heaven wouldn't take him, and Hell would be afraid he would try to take over.
And Thanos knew that Mephisto was content with his realm. His goal was never to expand it, only to increase its population. Yes, Thanos had promised, in exchange for his cooperation, the corrupted soul of Norrin Radd, the Silver Surfer. Thanos' plan was devilishly clever, and had a chance of succeeding. And if it failed, as ever, Mephisto would be there to pick up the juiciest pieces. He grinned, and drank deeply once more.
Loki was a god of mischief and deceit. How could Thanos trust him? Loki knew he could count on Thanos expecting him to betray them all. In fact, Thanos had probably planned for that very contingency. Perhaps Loki would best thwart him by simply following orders. Unless, that is exactly how Thanos expected him to react. Or not. Or maybe. Curses, thought Loki, games of deceit were so much more complex when the Titan was involved.
Thanos grew momentarily concerned that Dark Phoenix had not yet returned from her assignment. As he considered contacting her, his mind went back to that moment, mere hours before, when Mistress Death had passed from this universe. The thought still haunted him. Although she had rejected him countless times, and even earned his animosity, he always knew her condition, her state. He had spent centuries getting to understand her. And when she faded from existence and regressed to a mere abstract concept, Thanos had wept bitterly for the loss. For he knew his plans meant she may never return to sentience. It reminded him that he had a living heart that could be touched. Mistress Death had banished Thanos from her realm, but during this phase of the Union, there was no Mistress Death.
Suddenly, Dark Phoenix was before him, wearing Gamora's form... She glowed, a fierce firebird of orange surrounding her. Her energies had expanded to include the unmistakable presence of the Power Primordial. She spoke. "Thanos, my mission was a complete success. The Elders are no more, mere shells of their former selves. Your stratagem was sound, for my Passion incarnate was their undoing. I absorbed their passion for their callings, leaving them nothing but helpless, lethargic shadows lacking all drive or ambition to achieve excellence in their Chosen fields. They were easy pickings after that. They lack the motivation to continue, and are thus comatose."
"Excellent, Phoenix. And did any of the Elders escape?"
Dark Phoenix eyed the Titan carefully. Could he suspect the truth? "...No, Thanos. As with the non-corporeal Abstracts, they have been removed from the playing field. But there is another issue I wish to address... Their energies have satiated one of my hungers, but not all. You, Thanos, can satiate me in a way no star could." She took a step closer to him. "Tell me, you did say that this body was your foster daughter's. Then she is not your true offspring? You did not share the same bloodlines? Good..."
"Milady Phoenix, make no mistake. We are intimate Allies, you and I, on many levels. But my dark heart shall ever belong to another "
"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha! I am rebuffed? No matter, there are others here who are more able to slake my deepest desires " Dark Phoenix turned and left Thanos to his own dark ambitions.
Maelstrom instinctively summoned his former servant Deathurge to his side. The being seemed to appear momentarily, then vanished in a spiral twist of black and white. For was he not an Abstract concept too? And what of Anomaly, and Lord Oblivion before him? Thanos had said that in the wake of the Union it was possible for Maelstrom to pick and choose whatever cosmic position he preferred. Yes, 'Lord Maelstrom-Oblivion,' it had a certain ring to it.
Continued in Cosmic Union #5
This story continued in Cosmic Power Unlimited #5's Cosmic Union installment. Also new this week in the Cosmic Union continuity, Power Cosmic #1 and Tales of the Timeless #4! 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!