Covering just the overview (since it included a rundown of the major alien races in the Marvel Universe) ended up being extremely long, I’m spliting the cosmic titles into two sections. Today is the overview, next week I’ll cover the actual titles (including the special) that would comprise my take on the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe…
Marvel has a long tradition of telling science fiction stories set beyond the atmosphere of the Earth. From the Galactic Empires of the Kree, Skrull, and Shi’ar, to the mysterious Celestials and dangerous Galactus, to the cosmic beings that make up the fabric of reality like Eternity and her kin, all of these stories take on a larger than life aspect. There are mysterious to the universe, and these stories explore them all, filling the reader (when done right) with a sense of awe and excitement. That would be the goal of every story in my reboot of the cosmic titles.
To the greater empires, Earth is viewed as an insignificant planet on the outer rim of the Milky Way Galaxy, populated by a barbaric and backward species. This opinion will change, as Humans begin to involve themselves in the affairs of the galaxy. This will be done mostly via individuals (Corsair of the Starjammers, the Fantastic Four, Nova, and others.) Also, because of Earth’s supposed insignificance, several races (the Eternals, Inhumans, Deviants, and others) have chosen Earth’s solar system to hide out. As a spotlight begins to shine on Earth, each of these races will react very differently…
For the rest of the Milky Way, the three dominant empires are the Kree Technocracy, the Skrull Theocracy, and the Shi’ar Republic. The Kree and Skrull have been at war for half a millennia, and that war shows no signs of letting up any time soon. Both the Kree and the Skrulls had colonies in other galaxies, but due to the war, these colonies have either been lost, or their citizens been recalled for the war effort.
One big change I would make would be to have each of the main alien races – the Kree, Skrull, and Shi’ar – based in the Milky Way. The Kree and Skrull are still at their centuries long war. Though either one could pose a serious threat to the Shi’ar, they are too busy fighting each other to try taking on the Shi’ar. For their part, the Shi’ar are happy to stay neutral. Many of the minor races, fearing becoming embroiled into the Kree-Skrull War, have applied for –and generally accepted into – citizenship within the Shi’ar Republic. This has swelled their territories to a full half of the Milky Way Galaxy, and they’ve even begun to send diplomatic envoys to other galaxies. Prior to the war erupting, both the Kree and the Skrull had colonies in other galaxies, though either contact was lost with these colonies, or their citizens have been recalled for the war effort.
THE KREE TECHNOCRACY
The Kree are evolved from amphibians, and while they are notably humanoid, they have strong amphibious characteristics: blue, wet skin, a lack of hair anywhere on their head or body (though they do have tentacles on their heads in place of hair), and none of the mammalian characteristics (for example, the women, while obviously feminine, do not have breasts).
They are not native to this galaxy originally, but were refuges from a world consumed by Galactus. Always an aggressive species, the Kree arrived in the Milky Way and immediately conquered a new home, rechristened “New Hala” – a planet that belonged to the Skrull Theocracy. They have since gained control of a fourth of the core worlds in the Milky Way (many of which originally belonged to the Skrull), and though they consider New Hala to be their new homeworld, the seat of government is on Kree-Lar (as Hala is on a distant spiral arm of the galaxy, and not conducive to governing the empire.)
The Kree Technocracy is ruled by an organic computer called the Supreme Intelligence. Every member of the Kree race is expected to link his brain patterns up to the Supreme Intelligence once a cycle, and to perform a full download when dying, if possible (soldiers are implanted with a chip that can be removed and used to upload their final scans). Thus, even the dead have a “vote” within the great machine of government (though the Supreme Intelligence has been destroyed twice during the Kree-Skrull War, and thus it is said that the dead have an “unequal representation,” as some of the data could not be recovered.) Votes are weighed by expertise, so while the Supreme Intelligence will factor in every mind within itself, those with military leadership experience will be factored as more important in the voting algorithm on matters involving the war, for example.
The war has taken a toll on the Kree population’s psyche, and they’ve mellowed tremendously, even while continuing to fight against the Skrull. Still, most of their worlds are akin to the United States: dominated by the Kree, with small reservations of the indigenous populations scattered about in undesirable locations. The Inhumans are one of these indigenous populations who, rather than live out their lives on reservations, fled to the Blue Area of Earth’s moon.
THE SKRULL THEOCRACY
The Skrull’s evolutionary origins are thought to be from bacteria, though very little information about this is publically available. What is known is that they are neither animal nor plant, but can mimic both. Skrulls reproduce asexually through binary fission – in which two exact copies of the parent are created, this includes memories. The view of Skrulls seen in comics today is actually the dominant species in their empire, not that of an actual Skrull, who’s true form is jealously guarded. (As a side note: none of the races in the Skrull Theocracy – aside from the Skrull themselves – are allowed to be called anything other than “the people of the Skrull Theocracy.” No individual races are ever named, just individuals.) Rarely does anyone know who is actually a Skrull until they begin to change their appearance, and that has been further complicated by technological advances that allow honored members of society to have the ability to alter their appearance like an actual Skrull. Skrulls are always able to tell one of their own, however…
Every citizen in the Skrull Theocracy has their lives practically planned out for them, day to day. Each day, they are given the prophesies for that day, akin to a horoscope, though far more detailed and determined not by the stars, but by the Prophets. For most of the citizens, their role in society determines which horoscope they read, though there are often individuals named specifically on any given day – the more important a member of society is, the more often they are named individually, though even the most common of citizens can have an individual horoscope, if the prophets see their role that day as important.
Skrulls view their ability to change their shape as a gift bestowed by their gods, and generally fall into one of three categories. The most common are the “Common Skrulls,” who integrate into other parts of society and keep an eye on their sector for dissidents and radicals. They view themselves as the ultimate spies, and will often have multiple roles in a given sector, allowing them more access to a greater portion of the population under their purview. As such, Skrull society functions very similar to that of the panopticon principle. The second are the “Super Skrulls,” warriors who pride themselves on being able to copy the genetic qualities of multiple species. These warriors will take on multiple power sets from the genetic material of various individual mutations in any given population of their empire. Most Super Skrulls can gain the abilities of at least three mutations, but some are capable of upwards of ten. Genetic material is a closely guarded secret between Super Skrulls, though at least two must always have access to any given material (so such information will never die out). The third group are the “Prophets,” who rule the Skrull Theocracy. They gain the gift of prophesy by half-dissolving themselves in sacred pools of acid, and their word is law to the people of the Theocracy.
There is one other kind of Skrull, known by many derogatory terms, but most commonly called Deviants. These are Skrulls who are unable to control their genetic make up. Some are unable to keep a single form. Others are unable to change their form. Some are born this way. Others become Deviants by injury or illness. Regardless, they are put to death whenever they are discovered. Centuries ago, a group of Deviants banded together and went into hiding, and sought to gather as many of their kind as they could, hoping to create a fourth category. They numbered in the thousands when they were discovered, and rather than being embraced, they were hunted and killed. A group of several hundred, believed killed, fleed to Earth, where they now live in Lemuria, a city in on the floor of the Pacific basin.
Another notable group are the Eternals, who were comprised of the minor races of the Skrull Theocracy that rebelled against the strict religious laws. While still a part of the Skrull Theocracy, the Eternals aided the Deviants who fled to Earth, and when they were able to make alternate travel plans, joined the Deviants. However, the Deviants did not want them as a part of their new society, and after a brief conflict, drove them away. There has been enmity between the two ever since. The Eternals set up a home on Titan, one of Jupiter’s moons. Though they belonged to multiple races (ie. unable to breed children), they modified their genetic make-up to be compatible. They made their base form look akin to humans, as they are fascinated by Earth’s residents, and hope to one day join humanity on Earth (though each time they’ve decided that humanity was not yet ready for them).
THE SHI’AR REPUBLIC
This Shi’ar are of avian descent, with feathers instead of hair. They are a fragile (especially due to their lean muscles and hollow bones), but extremely long lived race. As such, they often wear hard, metallic exoskeletons to protect their physical form. While the Shi’ar are as aggressive as the Kree ever were, they pursue it in different ways. For the Shi’ar, to enter open combat is frowned upon and seen as beneath them. Instead, an insulted Shi’ar will work to destroy everything you’ve ever loved before seeing you killed. To say that the Shi’ar value cunning is understating it to near criminal proportions.
Beyond the Shi’ar themselves, who function as a kind of nobility in the Shi’ar Republic, there are literally tens of thousands of races. While the Shi’ar has always been welcoming of incorporating new cultures and races into itself, the Kree-Skrull War has ramped up the desire for others to be within the protective shelter of the Shi’ar, such as it is, and the Shi’ar have welcomed all of them. The Shi’ar Republic now makes up a full half of the core worlds, and has even begun sending diplomatic envoys and explorers to other galaxies to expand even further. (The other half of the Milky Way’s core worlds are split between the Kree and the Skrull, and the Shi’ar have traditionally taken a neutral position in the war.)
The Shi’ar Republic is governed by its Emperor and two houses of Parliament: the Shi’ar House and the Common House. All three have equal power in voting for and creating laws. The Emperor is also tasked as the Executor, responsible for carrying out those laws. Judicial matters are handled by Judges with appeals presented first to the Racial Representative in the Common House and then to the Emperor himself, when necessary. (The Shi’ar have a rank system to their noble status that determines who grievances are heard by, but this likewise ends with the Emperor as the final say in Judicial matters.) Every race is represented in the Common House, with the number of representatives determined by the population of the race, as well as its importance within the Republic. Every Shi’ar is officially allowed to vote on any matter in the Shi’ar House, though most give these votes to Representatives that they feel best serve their interests. How many votes a given Representative has varies upon how many have given him or her their voting rights. At any time, a Shi’ar can take back his rights and either vote himself, or give their rights to another Representative. As such, Representatives can rise and fall in a matter of days, and given the Shi’ar’s noted cunning, this indeed happens quite often. In every branch of the government, especially given the size of each of the Houses, corruption is rampant. As such, matters are often simply decided by the Emperor. Unfortunately, the current Emperor, D’ken, is quite insane…
This doesn’t include some of the major players (such as Galactus and Eternity) who aren’t a part of the racial empires, nor extra-galactic empires like the Phalanx, mostly because they would be used for individual stories and are not a part of the general situation in the galaxy. Next up, I’ll cover the Special, and the individual cosmic titles, which include the Fantastic Four, Nova, Thanos, the Starjammers, and a Galactic Anthology.