I write a lot in this space about what inspires me in the world of comics. The heroes that encourage me, the stories that move me, the creators that show me another way to viewing the world.
Today, I'd like to write about the things in comics that terrify me. And Great Kirby's Ghost, there are plenty. Fear gods, subterranean sewer mutants in New York, alien races that can easily infiltrate us at any time -- the Marvel Universe has plenty to keep us up in wet PJs at night. But even still, there are a couple potential scenarios a bit outside the normal storytelling scope that scare me much more than any fictional thing should. Scenarios like:
The Hulk merging with Venom
Well, Venom and the entire symbiote race are terrifying in general, but who they latch onto can turn the threat level from 3 to 11 in a heartbeat. The Hulk is especially frightening, as he's already known to be able to break planets and has developed a taste for humans in the past. Something tells me that adding a bloodthirsty alien murdergoo into that mix is asking for a kind of hurt on another level. There are a number of characters in the Marvel Universe I wouldn’t want to see Venom latch onto -- Doctor Doom, The Thing, Luke Cage, The Rhino -- but the Hulk would be the worst.
What makes this team up more awful than your normal run in is two-fold: 1) The Hulk’s strength is directly proportional to his anger, hence, “The angrier Hulk gets, the stronger Hulk gets.” Literally. 2) Venom is all about making its hosts angry as hell. It gets into your mind, plays your fears, regrets, and insecurities on repeat, and does everything it can to convince you that everyone in your life is trying to ruin you. Combine this being’s desire to make people angry with what amounts to a fist-bomb that runs entirely on rage, and you have a destroyed city by way of angry fist-bomb.
The final and absolute destruction of the Infinity Gauntlet
For those with a reading history they’re not ashamed to bring up at family functions, let me explain exactly what the Infinity Gauntlet is. The Infinity Gauntlet is an object of immense, virtually incomprehensible power that gives its wearer absolute mastery over existence. Not reality, mind you, existence itself. The Gauntlet forms when the wearer possesses all six of the Infinity Gems, small stones that each give their bearer absolute control over one aspect of existence: Time, Space, Mind, Soul, Reality, and Power.
Needless to say, the Infinity Gauntlet is a badass artifact of cosmic power, and is routinely the focus of some epic struggle between good and evil. Generally, Evil wants it, and Good wants to stop Evil from getting it, and for good reason. For a time, Thanos (a galactic techno space god, because comics) sought to possess all the Infinity Gems so that he could end half of all sentient life in existence (because comics) as a testament of his love for the personification of Death in that universe (again, because comics). And damn, did he come close. In his quest to murder half of the universe, he succeeded in killing damn near all of Earth’s big-league superheroes, another space god, a couple of members of the race of intergalactic scientists believed to have created the space gods, the embodiments of Order and Chaos, oh, and Eternity itself. The forces of good were finally able to exploit his one weakness, his ego (Don’t they always?), and undo all the damage he had done.
I tell you all of that to convey how much power exists in this one thing. If the bearer wanted to, he or she could easily wipe out all of existence. It’s that powerful. What got my mind going was -- why? Why does a thing like this exist? This is a thing that had to be created by some force somewhere within existence. I mean, the stones form a literal glove when they all come together. Everything points to this thing being created to be this powerful, which certainly says something about the power of the creator, or creators, of it. Why would anyone create something that could end their very existence? Why go to such lengths to make that kind of total, existential, universal suicide possible? Well, most people who commit suicide, as tragic as it is, do it because they believe it to be a better decision than what the alternative is: living. Which further begs the question:
What did the cosmic creators of the Infinity Gauntlet believe was worse than total, existential, universal suicide? And if the Gauntlet were to be destroyed, what could we do against whatever that threat is, if it ever made itself known? Sure, not existing anymore might be bad, but it’s starting to sound like something I might be able to deal with.
There’s plenty more to keep the residents of the MU from sleeping dryly: Doctor Doom teaming up with Ultimo, Kang the Conqueror getting his hands on an Ultimate Nullifier, The Hulk finding out the highly-anticipated prequel to one of the best sci-fi shows of all time getting canceled one hour after its trailer hit the internet to huge approval. I’ll revisit this nightmare-inducing theme again at some point in the future, but for now, what do you think, O nerds? If you’re the sort who has a long box, leave a comment below about the bumps in the night that would keep you up late in the Marvel Universe.
Image courtesy of ADB Designs