‘King in Black’: Everything You Need to Know About Captain Universe
Get the inside scoop on the Enigma Force ahead of the final showdown with Knull!
WEB OF VENOM: WRAITH #1 teased Marvel readers with the knowledge that Knull, the god of symbiotes, had a divine counterpart. Wraith passed on this intel to Eddie Brock before he lost his life, and it was put to good use recently in KING IN BLACK #4 when Reed Richards realized that Knull’s enemy was something he had seen before: the Enigma Force that embodies the Uni-Power of Captain Universe.
For decades, the Uni-Power has chosen individuals to temporarily become Captain Universe in order to face a grave crisis. As Mr. Fantastic pointed out, this behavior is similar to that of the symbiotes. But in contrast, the Uni-Power brings out the best of its hosts and inspires them to become something greater. The symbiotes tend to lead its bonded hosts into darker and amoral territory.
Now, Eddie Brock is the latest Captain Universe, and he’ll have his hands full with Knull in KING IN BLACK #5. Before that epic battle can begin, we’re taking a quick look at what makes the Enigma Force such an important part of the Marvel Universe.
What exactly can the Uni-Power do? Almost anything with the right person. Captain Universe hosts are all granted a similar power set even if they already had superhuman abilities of their own. One of the most significant upgrades is the power to alter matter into almost anything the host can imagine. The enhanced strength and the ability to fly are also part of the package.
The Uni-Vision also seems to confer a form of cosmic awareness on its host. Aside from a few instances, Captain Universe hosts are instantly made aware of what the Enigma Force is, some of its previous hosts, and what they’re meant to do before passing on the powers to someone new. If it seems like a lot of power to deal with, keep in mind that Captain Universe is the protector of life itself. That’s a battle that never ends.
From Small Beginnings
The Enigma Force first emerged in the Microverse, where it acted with a host to protect this realm and its inhabitants. But the Enigma Force also made its presence felt in the primary Marvel Universe in MARVEL SPOTLIGHT (1979) #9-11 when ordinary people were called upon to become Captain Universe. Hence the tagline “The hero who could be you!”
One of the most significant early hosts was Bruce Banner in INCREDIBLE HULK ANNUAL (1976) #10, when Bruce and the Hulk were briefly split into two beings. Bruce thought he was meant to destroy his alter ego, but his true mission was to save the world from nuclear armageddon.
During ACTS OF VENGEANCE, Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man found himself blessed and cursed with cosmic powers that he didn’t understand. This made him more than a match for many of the heavy-hitter villains who came after him during this time. Peter Parker also became so powerful that he was genuinely worried about what was happening to him.
In AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1963) #329, Peter finally came into his full abilities as Captain Universe and realized that he was meant to defeat the deadly Tri-Sentinel. When the battle was over, the Enigma Force departed. But in one of the worlds glimpsed in SPIDER-VERSE, an alternate version of Peter remained the most powerful Spider-Man in existence.
In 2008’s CAPTAIN UNIVERSE, the Enigma Force picked several established Marvel heroes to carry its Uni-Power, including Daredevil, Hulk, Invisible Woman, Silver Surfer, and Laura Kinney AKA X-23. Years later, the Enigma Force reunited with Spider-Man, Invisible Woman, and X-23 in the pages of X-23 (2010) #13-16.
The young mutant must have truly impressed the Enigma Force, because it told X-23 that she is destined to be the future heir to the Uni-Power. However, the next Captain Universe became a prominent hero in her own right.
During the run up to SECRET WARS (2015), the Enigma Force took over the body of Tamara Devoux in AVENGERS (2012). Captain Universe was literally in the driver’s seat of Tamara’s consciousness, and she joined the Avengers team. She also warned the heroes that the universe was dying, and even her fantastic abilities couldn’t forestall the inevitable destruction to come.
Because the Inheritors killed the Captain Universe Peter Parker from another world, the assembled Spider-Men and Spider-Women from the alternate Earths were severely underpowered in SPIDER-GEDDON when the Inheritors returned. A desperate plan was hatched to summon the Enigma Force and plead for the Uni-Force’s powers. Surprisingly, the Enigma Force showed no interest in joining the battle before Miles Morales confronted it. In response, Miles was chosen to be the next host of Captain Universe and he helped lead the Spider-heroes to victory.
Now, the Enigma Force has returned to Earth in its darkest hour. But will Captain Universe remain in play after the battle with Knull?
Find out in KING IN BLACK #5, which hits comic book shops on Wednesday, April 7.
You can read KING IN BLACK #4, written by Donny Cates with art by Ryan Stegman, right now! Find it online or at your local comic shop!
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