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Byron Brewer

Brew's Crew: Maelstrom, the Loki of tomorrow?

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(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)

By Byron Brewer

Maelstrom, who is famous to Annihilation-gen cosmic fans for causing mischief to Phyla-Vell in the pages of the “on-hiatus” (!!!) Guardians of the Galaxy, has always reminded me a tad of a spoiled Loki.

He wants things in such a way until they get there and then, oh my, I regret doing this or that, or things could be so much more delightful another way. Read on and you’ll see what I mean …

Maelstrom is the son of Phaeder, an Inhuman scientist banished from their city of Attilanfor attempting cloning to increase Inhuman population numbers. Phaeder then lives among the Deviants, and bred with a Deviant female named Morga who gave birth to Maelstrom. With his father's tutoring, Maelstrom became a brilliant geneticist. After his father is incapacitated in an experiment, Maelstrom swears revenge on the Inhuman race and becomes a would-be conqueror.

Maelstrom has first contact with Earth's metahumans when he sends his superpowered minions -- Phobius, Gronk and Helio -- to the scientific island facillity Hydro-Base to steal an Anti-Terrigen Mist compound. This substance can undo the effects of the Terrigen Mists and deprive the Inhumans of their abilities. Maelstrom's minions, however, are defeated by the heroes the Thing and Stingray. They are assisted by two Inhumans, Gorgon and Karnak. This leads to an encounter with another of Maelstrom's minions – Deathurge -- who kills the defeated trio. Reed Richards and the Inhuman Triton deduce that their opponent may have originated from the old site of Attilan, which was an undersea location.

The Thing, Gorgon and Karnaktravel via submarine to the old location, and discover a base where they are subsequently captured. The heroes later escape and together with the Inhuman king Black Bolt battle Maelstrom. The heroes hold off Maelstrom while Black Bolt intercepts and defuses a missile carrying the anti-Terrigen Mist compound that is programmed to destroy Attilan. (Remember War of Kings and think irony, eh?)The Thing weakens Maelstrom by using the compound on the villain, and the heroes escape as the base self-detonates. Maelstrom's last act is to order Deathurge to kill him.

Maelstrom later encounters the Titanian Eternal Kronos and learns of the existence of the entity Oblivion. Becoming Oblivion's avatar, Maelstrom becomes determined to achieve Oblivion's goal of non-existence on a universal scale. Maelstrom assumes the powers of the entity Anomaly, becoming the embodiment of the abstract principle of anomaly. This brings Maelstrom into conflict with the agent of the entity Eon, the cosmic hero Quasar, in the Outer Void (realm of Oblivion). After several battles, Quasar finally defeats Maelstrom when caught off-guard, and the power of Quasar's Quantum Bands consumes him. Maelstrom is later revived by his minions, but learns he had a son, Ransak, that would have been wiped from existence had he succeeded. An ashamed Maelstrom shrinks himself out of sight.

Maelstrom was later encountered by Drax and Phyla-Vell when they were killed by Mentorand sent to the realm of Oblivion. He came into possession of Phyla's Quantum Bands and used them to feed her to the Dragon of the Moon. He was eventually defeated by Drax and Wendell Vaughn, and Phyla was able to escape from the Dragon, killing it in the process. However, it turns out that this was simply a ruse so that Oblivion would be able to gain a new avatar of Death – Phyla!

Unfortunately, Phyla – now calling herself Martyr – does not keep the avatar title for long, as following War of Kings, Maelstrom is instrumental in tricking Phyla into freeing Thanos from a cocoon in possession of the Universal Church of Truth. It is believed Phyla was the first casualty in the return of the mad Titan.

Need another God of Mischief in the Marvel NOWThor? I am sure Maelstrom could fill the bill just fine!

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