The following contains major spoilers for Clobberin’ Time #5, on sale now from Marvel Comics.
While Ben Grimm, better known as the Ever Lovin’ Blue-Eyed Thing of the Fantastic Four, has spent years battling against all manner of superpowered threats, few if any have an immediate impression as potent as Ogdu Fraize’s. Not only has The Thing’s latest enemy laid claim to the Marvel Universe’s most dangerous weapons and artifacts, he has found a grander purpose for them than ever before. Unfortunately, the Multiverse’s new evil mastermind doesn’t realize that he is merely opening the door to something that was previously sealed away for some frighteningly good reasons.
After coming face-to-face with the Multiversal menace Ogdu Fraize yet again, the Thing and his unlikely ally Doctor Doom were ripped away to a space outside of time where they could only gaze upon the villain’s work. As seen in the pages of Clobberin’ Time #5 (by Steve Skroce, Bryan Valenza, and VC’s Joe Sabino), Fraize’s newly revealed Psychopomp Engine is busy harnessing the energy of the birth of Galactus himself. With all that raw, cosmic power at his command, Fraize is prepared to remake all of reality in his own image. Specifically, Fraize intends to rewrite the laws of the universe to remove any trace of entropy in a bid to erase pain and despair along with it. Of course, The Thing and Doctor Doom are intimately familiar with this concept and it doesn’t turn out nearly as well as Ogdu Fraize would like to believe.
What is Marvel’s Cancerverse – And How Is Ogdu Fraize Trying to Recreate It?
First seen in 2009’s Realm of Kings #1 by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Leonardo Manco, and Mahmud Asrar, the Cancerverse exists within the corner of the Multiverse known as Earth-10011. Like most other alternate timelines, the history of Earth-10011 mirrored that of the primary Marvel Universe up until one key moment changed everything. In the case of the Cancerverse, this moment came just before the death of Mar-Vell, the original Captain Marvel, who suffered from an incurable cancer acquired by exposure to an experimental chemical agent while battling the villain Nitro. As Mar-Vell lay on his deathbed mourning his inescapable fate, the Many-Angled Ones, also known as the Great Old Ones, felt his pain. These eldritch beings reached out to Mar-Vell and reminded him that even Death was capable of dying, and with that, the course of Earth-10011 was altered forever.
With the enhanced powers offered to him by his new masters, the Mar-Vell of Earth-10011 transformed his closest allies into monstrous shadows of their former selves, and with them, he embarked upon a crusade to eradicate Death as both a being and a concept. By the time his mission was over, this Mar-Vell’s universe was one where life could blossom and bloom completely unchecked. Without anything resembling entropy to keep the cyclical forces of the universe in motion, it was only a matter of time before the Many-Angled Ones made the Cancerverse their new home, and from there launch further attacks on other iterations of reality.
When the Many-Angled Ones and their undying, superpowered heralds finally reached the primary Marvel Universe’s Negative Zone during the events of 2010’s The Thanos Imperative by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Miguel Sepulveda, the threat they posed was evident to the start, especially to the series’ titular Mad Titan. Apart from their desire to invade and take over Thanos’ home reality, the armies of the Cancerverse had their sights set on continuing their crusade by claiming yet another version of Death as their victim. Thankfully, Thanos and the heroes who lent him their aid were able to introduce their Death to the twisted Mar-Vell’s reality, effectively erasing the Many-Angled Ones’ influence over it and eradicating their forces. As astonishing as the turns the war against the Cancerverse took were on their own, each of them stood as a stark reminder that upsetting the natural order was at the heart of everything the Many-Angled Ones accomplished.
Why Any Marvel Universe Without Death Is Doomed
This isn’t to say that Ogdu Fraize is on his way toward calling upon or unleashing an army of Eldritch horrors upon the Marvel Universe, but the fact that he is so keen on erasing entropy still brings the Cancerverse’s horrors to mind. Even if the Many-Angled Ones didn’t notice what he had done, Fraize succeeding in his efforts to remake reality will still usher in untold horrors that rival them at every level. He might think that he is on track to create a perfect utopia but eternal life is only sustainable within the bounds of an eternal universe. For all his brilliance, Fraize clearly hasn’t taken the time to think about what those implications really mean.
The idea of immortality certainly isn’t anything new to the Marvel Universe, nor are the consequences of living forever, yet there has never been any version of any reality where everything exists in the same truly eternal capacity. Considering the living embodiments of the different iterations of the Multiverse themselves have been born into and departed from the layer of existence that audiences are most familiar with, the inhabitants of Fraize’s undying vision of reality would still end up facing the end of the universe they reside within. If anything, Fraize’s “perfect universe” will be nothing more than a living distillation of pop culture’s most destructive existential crisis, one that not even death will be able to save anyone from.
The Multiverse’s next big bad, Ogdu Fraize, is reshaping the Marvel Universe, and he might just recreate the Cancerverse in the process. Read More