Deaths in the Marvel Universe aren’t terribly uncommon these days, and the deaths and returns of superhero characters have become almost a rite of passage for the genre’s biggest icons. However, it is rare for a publisher to kill off a character as powerful as the one who perished in Marvel Comics’ Ultimates 2 #2.
In Ultimates 2, the Ultimates are barely a team anymore. They were disbanded as a result of events taking place in Civil War II, and Captain Marvel feels particular hurt that Black Panther jumped from her side to Iron Man’s in the conflict.
However, there’s work to be done. Miss America reassembled the team – Captain Marvel, Black Panther, Blue Marvel, and Spectrum – to become heralds of Galactus. That doesn’t mean that the Ultimates are searching for worlds for Galactus to snack on. In The Ultimates, the Ultimates very first mission was to “fix” Galactus by helping him achieve his true potential. This transformed Galactus from the World-Eater into the Lifebringer, with the new motto, “Everything lives.” The Ultimates and the Anti-Man, are now the Heralds of Life.
It is Galactus’ transformation that led to the shocking death of Ultimates 2 #2. While the Ultimates were dealing with the ghost of the Shaper of Worlds, Galactus was being made to answer for his physical assault on Master Order when Order and his brother (in so much as abstract cosmic entities can be siblings) Lord Chaos confronted Galactus about how his transformation would affect the cosmic balance.
Master Order and Lord Chaos summoned the Living Tribunal, caretaker of the multiverse, to judge Galactus for his slights. Order and Chaos both laid out their complaints against Galactus – Order was upset by the shifting of power and Chaos simply wanted Galactus to resume sowing destruction and entropy across the cosmos – but Galactus remained steadfast in his new motivation and purpose.
To the surprise of Master Order and Lord Chaos, the Living Tribunal ruled in favor of Galactus. What Order and Chaos had not accounted for was the destruction and reformation of the multiverse during the events of Secret Wars, resulting in the eighth iteration of the Marvel multiverse. The Living Tribunal ruled that a new universe meant new rules, and that freed Galactus to find a new place in the new cosmic order.
When Master Order heard that new rules were in place, he had a different idea and instructed Lord Chaos to turn on the Living Tribunal, their cosmic superior, as seen in the image below.
The Living Tribunal was a powerful being, one created by the One-Above-All himself. Without the protection of the Living Tribunal, the still young eight Marvel multiverse is now left open to attack from within and possibly from without. Eternity is still in chains, and the Ultimates have not yet solved the Anti-Man’s mysterious riddle, “Who caged the universe?’
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The Ultimates 2 #2 is on sale now.