Comics
Published February 28, 2024

Meet the Black Swans, the Heralds of the Multiverse's Doom

Who are the Black Swans? On the heels of their reappearance in 'G.O.D.S.' #5, rediscover this group of powerful Multiversal beings and their role in 'Secret Wars.'

Whenever a cataclysmic cosmic event involving parallel universes occurs, the Black Swans are probably involved. A group of women linked to the fate of different worlds, Black Swans appear at pivotal moments, including the moment realities are poised to collide and die. Enormously powerful, the Black Swans resurfaced in G.O.D.S. (2023) as the feud between different omnipotent entities spilled over into the main Marvel Universe.

Here is everything you need to know about the Black Swans, including their role in the Marvel Multiverse, their universe-shattering history observing the fates of entire worlds, and details about their recent return in the pages of G.O.D.S. (2023).

WHO ARE THE BLACK SWANS?

The first Black Swan encountered by the main Marvel Universe's heroes is Yabbat Ummon Turru, the sole survivor from Earth-1365, who barely escaped the destruction of her universe after it collided with another reality. Seeking refuge in the Library of Worlds, a Multiversal safe haven created by the Beyonders, Yabbat was taken in by the Black Swans and joined their mission. Devoted to their deity figure Rabum Alal, the Black Swans sought to destroy the Molecule Man of every universe in an effort to avert the destruction of the Multiverse.

In reality, Rabum Alal was the secret identity of Doctor Doom after he became aware of the collapsing universes. He assembled the Black Swans for the express purpose of carrying out his strategy throughout the Multiverse. After Doom realized these Incursions—the events causing universes to collide—were inevitable, he changed the Black Swans' mission to gather information on the Molecule Men of the Multiverse. Doctor Strange led the Black Priests, his own Multiversal faction, in an effort to prevent the incursions and went to war with the Black Swans, with the fate of the Multiverse hanging in the balance.

POWERS & ABILITIES

As part of their Multiversal mission, the Black Swans possess an immense sense of cosmic awareness, which allows them to detect the borders between universes and accurately predict when they are about to collide. This expands to an expert amount of knowledge of each world in the Multiverse, giving them the ability to speak the native languages of each civilization within. Augmented by advanced technology, Black Swans are raised from an early age to embrace their full potential.

More than just passive observers of universal destruction, the Black Swans are formidable warriors in their own right. Black Swans wield superhuman strength, speed, and endurance; they are also capable of flying and generating energy projections, as well as manipulating matter itself. Black Swans are powerful telepaths, allowing them to coordinate with each other in secret from those around them.

THE BLACK SWANS' FIRST APPEARANCE

The Black Swans debuted in NEW AVENGERS (2013) #1, as a new Illuminati formed to proactively defend the main Marvel Universe from threats before they could cause harm. To prevent an incoming Incursion, a Black Swan and her team infiltrated Wakanda; this put them in direct conflict with Black Panther, who was unaware of their agenda. After this Black Swan destroyed the universe poised to collide with Earth-616, Black Panther summoned the Illuminati to confront her and this new Multiversal threat.

Interestingly enough, the Black Swans are not the only characters in the Marvel Universe to go by that moniker. The first Black Swan was a prolific mutant assassin who developed a longstanding grudge against Deadpool, clashing and competing with the Merc with a Mouth on several occasions after his debut in DEADPOOL (1997) #65. This Black Swan and Deadpool eventually set aside their differences and begrudgingly worked together. There is no overt connection between this Black Swan and his cosmic counterparts.

BLACK SWANS and THE MARVEL MULTIVERSE

After Black Panther and the Illuminati detained Yabbat following her prevention of an Incursion in Wakanda, they learned about the Incursions causing the imminent destruction of the Multiverse. As the rate of incoming Incursions started to speed up, the Illuminati reluctantly worked with the Black Swan to stop additional universes from colliding into their own. This desperate alliance found Yabbat instructing the Illuminati in how to construct a device capable of peering into different universes.

The toll of destroying other universes to preserve their own weighed heavily on the Illuminati, who eventually parted ways. Then, an impulsive Namor freed Yabbat and her associates to launch a Multiversal campaign that would destroy other worlds and stop the Incursions. 

In a failed attempt to betray his cosmic cabal, Namor and the Black Swan found themselves trapped in the Ultimate Universe as it collided with Earth-616, marking the end of the last two worlds in the Multiverse. Yabbat and a handful of heroes from both universes survived this, taking refuge in a specially designed spacecraft that landed on the composite reality known as Battleworld in SECRET WARS (2015) #2.

On Battleworld, Yabbat returned to faithfully serving Doctor Doom. After she died by Groot's hand while attempting to defend the World Tree at Battleworld's core, she became one of the otherworldly figures restored along with the Multiverse. 

Yabbat went on to work on behalf of Thanos as part of his new Black Order, who attempted to recover the Ultimate Universe's Mjolnir from the Collector in THE UNWORTHY THOR (2016). The Black Order, including the Black Swan, joined the Challenger in attacking the Avengers in AVENGERS (2016) #681, before siding with the Grandmaster in the wake of the Challenger's defeat.

BLACK SWANS AND G.O.D.S.

Outside of Yabbat, the Black Swans have largely been absent after SECRET WARS (2015) and the rebirth of the Marvel Multiverse, since the threat of the Incursions seemingly ended when Reed Richards rebuilt reality. Recently, they returned in G.O.D.S. (2023), which revealed a secret war between various omnipotent figures and their associates. However, rather than acting as the direct cause of the cosmic conflict, the Black Swans have resurfaced as young girls under the care of women taking on the physical form of nurses.

Exiled from the Library of Worlds for unseen transgressions, these "nurses" now live without purpose on Earth under the guise of running a hospital in New York. To help discover their new place in the world, the nurses lure men to their facility and sacrifice them in an effort to obtain and translate messages from beyond. 

After Dimitri—Proxy in Service to The-Natural-Order-of-Things and Chained Apprentice to the Avatar of The-Powers-That-Be—was caught trying to plant a mysterious device in the nurses' hospital, The-Powers-That-Be learned of their existence in the new Multiverse. This led to a harrowing confrontation, as they prepared to do whatever necessary to learn their true purpose.

Behold the new flock of Black Swans in G.O.D.S. #5, now on sale!

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