Posted by:
Byron Brewer

What the D'ast? Red Shift


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

By Byron Brewer


Red Shift: Love the name. Hate the character and his design.

I don’t know what it is about Red Shift. I am usually such a fan of Galactus’ Herald choices: Firelord, Terrax, Air-Walker, of course the Silver Surfer … even Morg and the Odin-built Destroyer.

But Red Shift? Nah. And, as comedian Benny Hill used to say, “I don’t know why!”

Perhaps it is the character’s design. Perhaps that falls short among the Herald population. Perhaps it is his particular utilization of the Power Cosmic. From Terrax’s axe to the board of Norrin Radd, there are a lot of devices and delivery systems brought to you by Big G. Maybe the twin swords of Red Shift just fall short.

Not that I want the character in limbo (comics limbo, not the 616 version). He is a formidable warrior.

Maybe the trouble is that I don’t really know anything about Red Shift’s past prior to the time he became a Herald. But then, that was true for the Surfer and he had charisma from the start. Same for the Air-Walker and Firelord, designed (I believe) by the late great John Buscema. And John Byrne’s Terrax.

All we know for sure about Red Shift (see, isn’t that a great name?) is that at some point around the time that Galactus became addicted to the consumption of intelligent life Red Shift became his Herald. He cooperated fully with the World Devourer’s plans. In time, Red Shift attempted to lead Galactus to Earth. As always, the newbie Herald went right after the Surfer. They battled for a bit, until the Surfer recognized the Power Cosmic in Red Shift. The Herald opened a portal to trap the Surfer in a black hole but was himself trapped when the Surfer destroyed one of the two swords wielded by Red Shift (used to cut holes in space to act as portals to other places) and confiscated the other.

Red Shift gained my interest a little more when he joined the other Heralds of Galactus who were being hunted by the forces of Annihilus’ Annihilation Wave. (What character wasn’t interesting in Annihilation?) He worked with many other heroes, such as Drax, Gamora, Cerise and Star-Lord as they lead legions of Kree and other soldiers in a months-long stalemate against the Wave. Red Shift and the others took their orders from Nova. While Red Shift and fellow Herald Stardust were not fully effective against the forces of the Wave, they were able to keep the airspace clear.

The battle against the Annihilation Wave came to a head at a small planet when the mad Titan Thanos, allied with Annihilus, gave his forces the use of teleportation technology. The base was swiftly overwhelmed. While the last of the survivors left, Red Shift and Stardust attempted to hold back a planet-devastating wave generated by Thanos’ imprisonment of Galactus. Both Heralds were feared lost to the energy, but it was later revealed that Stardust, being of a race composed entirely of energy, was able to reintegrate herself following her disintegration. Stardust surmised that Red Shift, not being made of energy, did not survive.

Be that as it may, from what we have seen in the past it is awfully tough to kill a being possessing the Power Cosmic, so perhaps somewhere, some when, Red Shift will again return, this time with a highly interesting origin story and a new appearance, one befitting such a grand moniker. After all, Galactus puts out good product.